Saturday, April 30, 2011

SPL Today: Two Up, Two Down

The SPL season heads inexorably towards its conclusion. Did last Sunday decide the destination of the title?

Perhaps.

Perhaps not.

All Rangers can do is keep winning, keep hoping and wait for Celtic to slip up. Not much else for it.

Celtic, of course, need to avoid slipping up. And keep winning.

All very simple in a season when we seem to have somersaulted ourselves into positions of needless complexity.

Still, anything can happen. It's not over until the fat woman sings a tasteful, non-sectarian song.

Time aplenty then to read my predictions, get the best betting odds for football, free bets and free betting offers and put your money where my mouth is so frequently wrong.

Motherwell v Rangers

Arguably Rangers toughest fixture of the rump of the season. Having spent a number of months caught betwixt and between alright and awful Motherwell suddenly seem to have forgotten how to lose.

Securing a Scottish Cup final appearance proved their rediscovered verve, last week's three goal comeback at Tynecastle proved their rediscovered spirit.

During that strange old run when Stuart McCall first took over at Fir Park Motherwell managed to lose 6-0 to Rangers and beat Celtic.

Is their another sting in the Motherwell tail, can they still provide a twist to the title tale?

Four games to go for Rangers. Four wins needed. That still might not be enough. No room for error though.

The stakes being so high, I'll back Rangers. But I'll not be surprised if they get a fright today.

Kilmarnock v Hearts

Life after Mixu has not been more a bucket of warm spit than a magnum of champagne for Kilmarnock.

Hearts too have floundered a bit of late, the surrendering of a three goal lead last weekend providing the most illuminating example of a tailing off form over the past couple of months.

So spot the form team at Rugby Park today.

Based on little more than a hunch I'll pick a home win.

Aberdeen v Inverness

A word of warning for any newly weds, famous, infamous, royal or proletarian. The ending of a honeymoon period can be painful.

Craig Brown's arrival at Aberdeen sparked an upturn in form, a new enthusiasm and left that septuagenerian manager giddy with the possibilities of pastures new.

Now the malaise seems to have returned. Once again it seems that even getting out of bed is a sair fecht up Pittodrie way.

Inverness started brightly enough to give us a glimmer of optimism in this SPL season. A slump dashed their top six chances but they are showing form enough to be favourites to finish seventh. The best of the rest of the rest.

Away win.

Hibernian v St Johnstone

Hibs have confirmed that ten out of contract players will be allowed to depart this summer. Question marks remain over Derek Riordan and Liam Miller.

The cynic in me predicts that Riordan will be offski but a premature announcement might just provoke a backlash that could nudge season ticket wavererers away from the Easter Road ticket office.

My own view is that Derek and Hibs have reached the end of the road. The talent remains, new horizons might offer him the best chance of unleashing it more consistently.

All of which is something of a diversion as I search in vain for ways to describe how unenthused I am by this meaningless fixture between two side who would be better packing up and going on their summer jaunts to Blackpool, Skeggy and the Costa del Tennents.

A home win. If anyone can be bothered.