Andy Walker's Scottish Premiership predictions

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Football Expert & Columnist

Monday 1 February 2021 19:16, UK

Sky Sports’ Andy Walker offers his predictions as we head into another midweek of Scottish Premiership action.

Aberdeen vs Livingston – Tuesday, 6pm

Having drawn 0-0 at the weekend in West Lothian, these two quickly meet again at Pittodrie. Now that striker Sam Cosgrove has secured his move to Birmingham City, Aberdeen are short on quality up front. Scott Wright was left out of the side with the possibility of his pre-contract move to Rangers happening in this window. Curtis Main is also out injured, meaning the lone striker’s role being handed to Connor McLennan for the game at the weekend.

Derek McInnes has moved to strengthen his options by getting Scotland U21 international striker Fraser Hornby in from French side Reims on loan until the end of the season. Even allowing for Aberdeen’s issues up front, they did create the better scoring chances at the weekend.

David Martindale has a full squad to choose from with everyone desperate to impress for the forthcoming League Cup final. Remarkably, it’s now 13 games unbeaten that Livingston are on and their confidence is high.

Andy Walker’s prediction: 1-0

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St Mirren vs Hibs – Tuesday, 6pm

Both sides go into this one on the back of impressive away wins at the weekend. Celtic’s dismal form attracts all the headlines for obvious reasons, but it shouldn’t be forgotten what a wonderful team performance Jim Goodwin got from his players at Celtic Park. Having beaten Rangers earlier this season, it’s a fine double for the Saints boss, especially after the major disappointment of the League cup semi-final loss to Livingston.

Jack Ross is, of course, very familiar with going back to Paisley, having managed there for a short time before his move to Sunderland. Darren McGregor has shown he still has a lot to offer, netting the opening goal in the 2-0 win at Tannadice on Saturday.

Along with Aberdeen, Hibs should consider Livingston as a real threat to finish in the top four and a coveted European place. With both teams meeting at Pittodrie on the same night, this is a chance for Hibs to take advantage of one or both dropping points. There is serious interest in Ryan Porteous and Kevin Nisbet – both left out at the weekend – with Millwall making a serious offer for the U21 defender and Birmingham City also keen to take striker Nisbet to the Midlands.

Andy Walker’s prediction: 1-2

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Kilmarnock vs Celtic – Tuesday, 7.45pm

Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat to Kilmarnock turned out to be Alex Dyer’s last match as manager of Kilmarnock, losing 3-2 after being two goals in front proving to be the last straw for the Kilmarnock board. The Ayrshire club are just four points away from one of the bottom two places and it looks likely that Dyer’s assistant, Andy Millen, will take temporary charge for this one. They might be able to take some confidence from the game at the same venue earlier this season when Killie deservedly earned a point in a 1-1 draw.

It’s hard to know what the mindset of the Celtic players will be after the criticism of them by manager Neil Lennon in the immediate aftermath of another painful loss at home to St Mirren on Saturday. “Their mindset has changed, if we play with no intensity or will to win, we’re not going to win anything,” admitted Lennon after the loss. It seems to me that he’s getting no response from a group of players who look indifferent to their current woeful predicament. The very least to be expected is a hunger and desire to win games, it has been inexplicably lost over a number of months now.

Andy Walker’s prediction: 1-1



Kilmarnock
Celtic


Hamilton Accies vs Ross County – Wednesday, 6pm

What a massive game this is for both clubs. Accies prop up the Premiership table but County are just one point above them. Whatever the result, there will be no fall out from either manager, Brian Rice and John Hughes have worked together at Falkirk, Inverness Caley & Hibs & have huge respect for one another. But having survived against all the odds in the top-flight for 12 years now, this is the type of pressure game that Hamilton thrives upon. Year after year they give themselves the best possible hope of staying up with a vital win; could this be another one?

County won here in the early weeks of the season when they were in good form but will be without striker Ross Stewart now that he has completed his move to Sunderland for a fee in the region of £300,000. They’ve also sold 18-year-old left-back Josh Reid to Coventry City for a significant fee.

Andy Walker’s prediction: 2-0

Motherwell vs Dundee United – Wednesday, 6pm

Graham Alexander managed to get his first victory of the season when his team won 2-1 in Dingwall against Ross County, but they’re still far too close to the bottom of the table to take anything for granted.

Signing Robbie Crawford on a permanent deal from Livingston to add to their midfield options is a good move as they try to steer clear of being drawn into the bottom two places. Striker Devante Cole has hit a rich vein of form with three in his last four games, he’ll be confident of keeping that going.

Even allowing for the absence of fans, it’s now six games without a win at Fir Park and if Alexander can get the type of performance his team gave him in the 1-1 home draw with Rangers recently, he’ll be happy.

This is a difficult period for Micky Mellon and his Dundee United side. On the back of two home defeats to St Mirren and Hibs – losing seven goals into the bargain – he’ll be keen for his team to get back to basics and defending well. Despite the on-going speculation surrounding Lawrence Shankland, it looks likely the striker won’t be moving from Tayside in this window.

Andy Walker’s prediction: 2-1

Rangers vs St Johnstone – Wednesday, 7.45pm

St Johnstone are the latest team to roll up to see if they can break the remarkable 100 per cent record at Ibrox that Rangers have this season. The formality of being crowned champions is just a matter of time now for Steven Gerrard.

They’ll have to do without Alfredo Morelos for another three games, his retrospective ban for his stamp on Ryan Porteous was pretty clear. Even the Rangers fans I speak to find it hard to understand what goes through his mind in these situations. You do wonder if it will have an effect on his value given that his scoring record at home and abroad is so impressive. Kemar Roofe is an able deputy though and he too has made a huge contribution to Rangers’s success. It’s a reasonable question now to ask if Rangers can go through the entire league season unbeaten.

Callum Davidson saw another side to his team at the weekend, a never-say-die attitude that saw his men come back from two goals down at Rugby Park against Kilmarnock to win 3-2. This game will be the toughest of the lot for his men though as they too can realistically think about a run of form that could see them challenge for a top-six place.

Andy Walker’s prediction: 2-0

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