IT’S a big weekend in Scotland with the top two in the Premiership and Championship locking horns.
Top-flight leaders Celtic face Aberdeen trying to open up a seven-point gap at the top while Rangers will increase their advantage over Hibs to 11 points by winning at Easter Road.
Celtic are no bigger than 1-2 at Stan James to beat a Dons side who have suffered a dramatic loss of form. Derek McInnes’s men have picked up one point in four league games and don’t look overpriced at 13-2 with Betfred.
Their latest blow came when they failed to beat Motherwell last week and while they’re in the middle of a hectic schedule you have to fancy the champions.
Leigh Griffiths netted openers against United last week and Hearts in midweek and is 7-2 with bet365 to strike first for the third game running.
Celtic have scored in both halves in their last three home ties against Aberdeen and are 11-8 with William Hill to do so again.
It’s already been pointed out on the site the ref is Willie Collum and it is 11-4 at Skybet he awards a penalty and 4-1 with William Hill he flashes a red.
As Rangers face their biggest test of the season McBookie are offering 20-1 they will manage to go through the whole campaign with a perfect record. They have won the first 11 and bookies go just 2-1 Rangers can remain unbeaten for the whole season.
Alan Stubbs’s Hibs are 1-1 at William Hill to stop the Ibrox side’s winning streak at 11. Rangers have gone off the boil recently but are still picking up the points.
St Mirren, Livingston and Queen of the South have been beaten by one and another single-goal Gers’ victory pays 14-5 at Ladbrokes.
Jason Cummings and Martyn Waghorn are the in-form strikers in the league and both to score pays 9-2 with William Hill.
Hibs ran Mark Warburton’s men close at the start of the season with a 1-0 loss at Ibrox after a 6-2 trouncing in the Challenge Cup and have won four in a row with a League Cup quarter-final meeting to come against Dundee Utd on Wednesday.
The Hibees will have backers at a best 17-5 with McBookie and I can see them drawing. That pays a best 13-5 at Ladbrokes and William Hill.
Meanwhile, Dundee United boss Mixu Paatelainen didn’t mince his words last week when he described his side’s display as “rubbish”.
The new Tannadice boss was spot on and while the truth hurts he’ll realise he faces a fight to keep the tangerines in the top flight.
A 5-0 crushing at Celtic isn’t what defines a club’s season – many teams will lose heavily to the champions – but that’s two defeats and no goals scored since the big Finn replaced Jackie McNamara.
County head for Tannadice buoyed by their midweek League Cup defeat of Inverness and while their recent form has been inconsistent they look worth risking at 8-5 with McBookie.
United are only marginally bigger at 9-5 with bet365 so you can have County draw no bet at 5-6 with Skybet.
Liam Boyce has failed to net in three after 11 goals in games but if you fancy him to get back on track he is 7-4 at Ladbrokes to score.
County are 19-5 with Coral to be the third team in a row to win to nil against United.
Hearts will go second if they beat Partick Thistle and Aberdeen lose and they are 9-5 with BetVictor to do so. Robbie Neilson’s men ran Celtic close in the League Cup in midweek and are unbeaten in five in the league.
The Jags have improved with two wins and a draw in their last three so Hearts draw no bet is the call at 39-40 at BetVictor and McBookie.
Kilmarnock are another side in form and Gary Locke’s men are 4-5 at William Hill to make it three wins in a row at home to Motherwell. Josh Magennis is the man of the moment for Northern Ireland and Killie and netted in his side’s last two wins.
He is 19-5 with William Hill to net in a home win and 21-10 at Ladbrokes to score at any time.
Hamilton will fear Steven MacLean when St Johnstone visit. The striker bagged a hat-trick when the sides last met and is 9-4 with bet365 to score again.
Injury-hit Inverness have suffered three successive defeats and Dundee are 3-1 at bet365 to hand them a fourth.
And finally do you remember the last time Dunfermline faced Cowdenbeath? It was 7-1 to the Pars after 3-1, 4-1, 5-1 and 6-1 successes.
They also beat their Fife rivals 5-1 with both beatings at East End Park. They’ve won four of six at Central Park, including two 4-0s, and best bet is over 3.5 match goals at 7-5 with McBookie.
Celtic v Aberdeen penalty awarded
Griffiths to score first
Hibs not to lose
(1-1, William Hill)
Magennis (Killie) to score
Cowdenbeath v Dunfermline over 3.5 goals
Ross County draw no bet
(5-6, Paddy Power)
Hearts draw no bet