Andy Walker's Scottish Premiership predictions
Watch Aberdeen vs Rangers on Sunday, kick-off at 3pm and Celtic vs Hibs on Monday, kick-off 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Football; Follow Saturday’s action with our dedicated Scottish Premiership blog. Free match highlights will be published on the Sky Sports website, app and YouTube channel
Football Expert & Columnist
Thursday 7 January 2021 21:03, UK
Sky Sports’ Andy Walker offers his predictions as we head into another weekend of Scottish Premiership action.
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Dundee United vs St Johnstone – Saturday, 3pm
The tough times for everyone are certainly being felt sharply at Tannadice, where players have been asked to take wage cuts. With that hardship in place, could Dundee United cash in on striker Lawrence Shankland in this transfer window? In all honesty, he has been disappointing since Dundee United gained promotion, he scored heavily in the lower leagues, but has struggled to be as effective in the top flight and his value has fallen. I’m sure Micky Mellon will be reasonably happy with his 26 points gained so far, it’s a big step to make from the second tier to the top flight of Scottish football.
St Johnstone manager Calum Davidson was dealt a blow when Danny McNamara returned to his parent club Millwall last week and he’ll be hoping he can keep a hold of his talented midfielder Ali McCann for a bit longer, there’s no doubt he’ll move to a bigger club soon.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 1-1
Kilmarnock vs Hamilton Academical – Saturday, 3pm
Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer has come through a tough time both for himself and his club recently and transfer business has already started. Striker Eamonn Brophy is on his way out of Rugby Park, surprisingly signing a pre-contract with St Mirren. Dyer has reacted quickly by signing 28-year-old Frenchman Diaguely Dabo, a player capable of playing in either defence or midfield. Kilmarnock must start to improve their home form. Since beating Hamilton 2-1 in September, Killie have won just one of their last six home league games.
Hamilton Accies’ season has been plagued by injury and Covid issues, and despite the absence of Marios Ogkmpoe, David Templeton and Lewis Smith, they’re still fighting for every point. Beating Motherwell 3-0 last weekend was a big boost to their new year ambitions.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 2-1
St Mirren vs Motherwell – Saturday, 3pm
Jim Goodwin’s men have really kicked on since that stunning 3-2 victory over Rangers in mid-December. Form is good and expectations are high now that Brophy has signed a pre-contract agreement from Kilmarnock. Jonathon Obika and Lee Erwin now know there’s even more competition for places and might help raise their game.
Four candidates, believed to be Simon Grayson, Graham Alexander, Tommy Wright, as well as caretaker Keith Lasley, have all been interviewed for the vacant Motherwell post. On his departure, Stephen Robinson highlighted that the current group of players weren’t good enough and with striker Callum Lang returning to Wigan, they’ve lost a decent goal threat. Lasley is in pole position for the job, but didn’t start well, losing the Lanarkshire derby to Hamilton by an embarrassing three-goal margin.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 2-1
Aberdeen vs Rangers – Sunday, 3pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event
Rangers’ astonishing run continues and a 19-point gap has now opened up at the top of the table after last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Celtic. Celtic had the better of the game, but there’s always admiration for a team under tremendous pressure who find a way to win. The truth is Rangers have found numerous ways to win games this season, you don’t always have to be on top form. I doubt there will be much transfer business in or out at Ibrox, as long as they keep all their best players Steven Gerrard will be happy.
Pittodrie will provide another tough test for the league leaders and the transfer speculation in the north east is gathering pace. Ross County striker Ross Stewart is on Derek McInnes’s radar, as is former Celtic man Gary Mackay-Steven, recently released by Ronny Deila’s New York City.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 0-1
Livingston vs Ross County – Sunday, 3pm
Since taking over from Gary Holt, David Martindale couldn’t have wished for a more positive response from his players. Seven wins from seven games is magnificent form and they didn’t just get the better of Hibs at Easter Road last weekend, they beat them comfortably by a three-goal margin. Adding striker Gavin Reilly from Carlisle United will clearly heighten competition for places given his previous experience of Scottish football.
It must be said, though, that Ross County are also under new management and John Hughes also guided his players to an impressive win over Hibs in late December. Taking anything from Livingston in their current form will be an enormous boost to the Highlanders’ hopes of escaping relegation. Given his time with Hamilton Accies, Livingston, Dundee United and St Mirren, Tony Andreu knows his way around the Scottish game and will add a different goal threat.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 1-1
Celtic vs Hibs – Monday, 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event
I’m sure Neil Lennon would have been happy with his players for the best part of an hour in last week’s clash at Ibrox, but in a must-win game, a moment of madness saw Nir Bitton correctly sent off and as a result, they lost 1-0 and their title hopes have all but gone. On the plus side, the recent introduction of Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull has been encouraging for Celtic supporters and both have improved the energy levels and, more importantly, the goal threat for the team. How will they look after the transfer window? Like every other club, they’ll want to come out of the window stronger than before. Much will depend on offers for players like Olivier Ntcham, the midfielder’s value decreasing given his lack of game time.
After surging into a two-goal lead at Easter Road in November, Hibs should have taken all three points, but Celtic clawed their way back for a point. Jack Ross has recalled goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski from his loan spell at Dumbarton now that Dillon Barnes has returned to QPR. Losing their last three league games is poor form for the Edinburgh side, but they always have an attacking outlook, so there should be some goals in this one.
Andy Walker’s prediction: 3-0
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