Scottish Premiership midweek previews

Team news, stats and how to follow the Boxing Day matches in the Scottish Premiership, including Celtic’s trip to St Johnstone.

St Mirren vs Aberdeen – Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm

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St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin’s told Jamie McGrath he needs to focus on his football as speculation about his future continues.

Jamie McGrath could return to the St Mirren team for the visit of Aberdeen in the cinch Premiership.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder has missed the past two games after being affected by transfer speculation but has since held positive talks with manager Jim Goodwin.

Defender Conor McCarthy remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Aberdeen will run the rule over Ross McCrorie after the defender went off at half-time against Edinburgh City at the weekend.

New signing Vicente Besuijen is awaiting a visa before being able to make his Dons debut.

Marley Watkins, Mikey Devlin and Andy Considine are all still out, while American midfielder Dante Polvara is still waiting for his introduction to Scottish football.

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● St. Mirren are looking to beat Aberdeen at home twice within a single league season for the first time since 2010-11 under Danny Lennon. They won their last home league match against them 3-2 in September.

● Aberdeen have only lost two of their last 24 league matches against St. Mirren (W10 D12), although are winless in their last four away league visits to St. Mirren Park (D2 L2).

● After their 2-1 win over Dundee United, St. Mirren are looking to win both of their first two top-flight matches of a calendar year for the first time since 2010 – when their second such win was over Aberdeen.

● Aberdeen have only won one of their last nine away league outings (D2 L6), beating St. Johnstone 1-0 in December.

● Lewis Ferguson has scored in both of Aberdeen’s last two league games; he has never previously scored in three consecutive Scottish Premiership appearances, with this the fifth time he has scored in two in a row in the division.

How to follow: Free match highlights will be published on the Sky Sports website, app and YouTube channel later that evening.

Hearts vs Celtic – Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Football

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Ange Postecoglou says he’s ‘gutted’ for Callum McGregor after the Celtic captin suffered a facial injury in Celtic’s 2-1 Scottish Cup win against Alloa.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson expects to have John Souttar in his squad to face Celtic.

The defender missed Saturday’s cup win over Auchinleck Talbot with an ankle injury after Rangers made a failed bid to take him to Ibrox months before scheduled.

Beni Baningime is in contention to start following a knee problem, while Ben Woodburn is back following a Covid-19 absence. Defender Taylor Moore (thigh) will miss out but could return to face Motherwell on Saturday.

Celtic captain Callum McGregor (face) and fellow midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi (ankle) will miss the trip to Gorgie.

Attacker Liel Abada should be ok after he sustained a knock in the Scottish Cup victory over Alloa at the weekend.

Japan striker Kyogo Furuhashi remains on the sidelines along with midfielder David Turnbull and striker Albian Ajeti (all hamstring).

Wednesday 26th January 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm

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● After beating Celtic 2-1 at home on the opening weekend of the season, Hearts are looking to pick up back-to-back home league wins over the Hoops for the first time since August 2006 under Valdas Ivanauskas.

● Each of Celtic’s last six league defeats to Hearts have come at Tynecastle. However, the Bhoys have only lost three of their last 30 league matches against them overall (W25 D2).

● Hearts have won each of their last three league games, their best winning run in the Scottish Premiership since they won each of their opening five matches of the 2018-19 campaign.

● Celtic are unbeaten in 15 league matches, winning 12 and drawing three. Indeed, they have won seven of their last eight league games played away from home (D1).

● Daizen Maeda scored on his Scottish Premiership debut for Celtic last time out against Hibernian. The last player to score in both of his first two league appearances for the club was Shane Duffy in September 2020.

How to follow: Watch Hearts vs Celtic live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm on Wednesday; kick-off 7.45pm. Free match highlights will be published on the Sky Sports website, app and YouTube channel later that evening.

Dundee United vs Ross County – Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership game between Dundee United and St Mirren.

Dundee United boss Tam Courts may be tempted to stick with the same 3-5-2 formation which saw them past Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup at the weekend.

Ross County are likely to make changes from the rotated side which was beaten at Livingston in the Scottish Cup, although Jordan Tillson is suspended and David Cancola an injury doubt.

Adam Mackinnon and Matthew Wright have both been recalled from respective loans and could feature.

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● Dundee United have only lost one of their last eight Scottish Premiership matches against Ross County (W6 D1), a 0-2 home defeat in May 2021.

● Ross County have only won two of their nine top-flight away games at Dundee United (D2 L5), losing five of their last seven (W2).

● Dundee United have lost each of their last six league games; they last had a longer losing run in the Scottish top-flight from September to November 2000, when they lost nine in a row under Alex Smith.

● Having only won two of their first 15 league matches of this season (D5 L8), Ross County have since won three of their last six in the Scottish Premiership (D1 L2). The Staggies are looking to win back-to-back league matches for the first time since winning each of their final three Scottish Premiership matches of last season – a run which included a win away at Dundee United.

● Regan Charles-Cook has scored eight league goals this season, the most by a player for Ross County in a single Scottish Premiership campaign since Alex Schalk in 2017-18 (11). The Grenada international is looking to score in back-to-back Scottish Premiership appearances for the very first time.

How to follow: Free match highlights will be published on the Sky Sports website, app and YouTube channel later that evening.

Motherwell vs Hibs – Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership clash between Celtic and Hibernian.

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander has an unchanged squad for the cinch Premiership match against Hibernian.

Juhani Ojala and Liam Shaw returned to the bench for Saturday’s Scottish Cup win over Morton but did not feature.

Ricki Lamie and Mark O’Hara remain on the sidelines.

New signing Demetri Mitchell could make his Hibernian debut at Fir Park after joining from Blackpool.

Elias Melkersen’s work permit has been approved but the Norwegian striker is unlikely to go straight into the squad.

Paul McGinn returns from a ban but Harry Clarke and Kyle Magennis are still unavailable through injury and Ryan Porteous is suspended.

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● Motherwell have only won one of their last seven league matches against Hibernian (D3 L3), a 2-0 win in February 2021.

● Hibernian have won both of their last two away league visits to Motherwell, scoring exactly three goals both times (3-0 in December 2020, 3-2 in August 2021).

● Motherwell have won each of their last four home league games, last winning five on the bounce in March 2019.

● No side has kept fewer clean sheets away from home in this season’s Scottish Premiership than Hibernian (one), who have conceded at least once in each of their last eight away league outings.

● When not including penalties as set-pieces, a league-high 35% of Motherwell’s Scottish Premiership goals this season have come from set-piece situations (9/26). Meanwhile, just 13% of Hibernian’s goals in the competition this term have come from set-plays (3/24, excluding penalties), with only St. Mirren (10%) having a lower such ratio.

How to follow: Free match highlights will be published on the Sky Sports website, app and YouTube channel later that evening.

Rangers vs Livingston – Wednesday, 7.45pm

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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst says Ianis Hagi will miss the rest of the season after knee reconstruction surgery.

Rangers will be without the suspended Ryan Kent due to his red card in their last Scottish Premiership game against Aberdeen.

Ianis Hagi, who was forced off in the Scottish Cup win over Stirling Albion, is also a doubt.

Livingston have no new injury concerns to contend with.

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● Rangers have won 10 of their last 11 league matches against Livingston (D1), keeping nine clean sheets in those 11 meetings.

● Livingston have lost each of their last 12 top-flight away games at Rangers since a goalless draw in August 2001.

● Rangers are unbeaten in 30 home league matches (W27 D3) since a 0-1 defeat to Hamilton in March 2020. The Gers have won each of their last five league matches at Ibrox, keeping a clean sheet in each of the last four of those.

● Livingston have won three of their last five league games (D1 L1), as many as their previous 22 Scottish Premiership fixtures prior to this (W3 D6 L13).

● Bruce Anderson has scored 39% of Livingston’s 18 Scottish Premiership goals this season (seven), the highest ratio by a player for a side in 2021-22. Anderson has scored more goals in 19 Scottish Premiership matches for the Lions (seven) than he netted in 44 appearances in the division for Aberdeen and Hamilton combined (five).

How to follow: Free match highlights will be published on the Sky Sports website, app and YouTube channel later that evening.

St Johnstone vs Dundee – Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership game between Hearts and St Johnstone.

St Johnstone could have new signing John Mahon in their squad for their cinch Premiership survival battle against Dundee, but the Irish defender is not ready to start.

Callum Hendry has been recalled from a loan spell with Kilmarnock and Cammy MacPherson has signed from St Mirren after being briefly recalled by the Paisley club from a loan spell in Perth.

Midfielders Craig Bryson (ankle) and David Wotherspoon (knee) are long-term absentees while Michael O’Halloran (hamstring) drops out and Callum Booth is a doubt.

Dundee could hand Niall McGinn a debut after signing the 34-year-old winger from Aberdeen.

Canadian midfielder Jay Chapman is also in line for his first appearance after arriving in Scotland.

Jordan Marshall will miss the match through injury while Cillian Sheridan (Achilles) and Lee Ashcroft (hamstring) are long-term absentees.

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● St. Johnstone have won six of their last seven home league matches against Dundee (L1), including each of their last four in a row.

● Dundee are looking to pick up back-to-back league wins over St. Johnstone for the first time since December 2017.

● St. Johnstone are currently enduring an eight-game losing run in the Scottish Premiership. The last side to suffer a longer losing streak in the competition were Dundee from February to May 2019 (run of 10).

● Dundee have lost each of their last six league matches, five of which have been away from home. The Dee haven’t lost six or more consecutive away league outings in the top-flight since a run of seven from October 2004 to January 2005.

● St. Johnstone are the lowest scorers in the Scottish Premiership this season (11 goals), while opponents Dundee have conceded the most goals in the 2021-22 competition (39). Indeed, the Saints have scored just two goals in their last seven league matches, while Dundee are without a clean sheet in their last six.

Source : Sky Sports