The attention returns to the Scottish Premiership after all the excitement last weekend when Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side lifted the first trophy of the season after beating Mick Beale’s theRangers 2-1 in the League Cup Final at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
It was a well deserved victory for the Hoops who retained the trophy that they won, also by a 2-1 margin last season and on that occasion Hibs were the beaten finalists. In these two League Cup finals all four Celtic goals were scored by Japanese striker Kyogo, who is also currently the leading goalscorer in the Scottish Premiership and he’ll be looking to add to his tally tomorrow afternoon in the lunchtime kick-off at Paisley with perhaps another goal or two on the cards and like gg.bet we reckon that a Kyogo double looks a fairly tasty proposition.
St Mirren are the hosts for that one and they go into the match with the confidence of knowing that their game-plan for playing Celtic at home worked perfectly last September. That match ended in a 2-0 St Mirren victory and it remains the only domestic defeat suffered by Ange Postecoglou’s team this season.
Indeed it’s the only bad result Celtic have had as the only other time points have been dropped was at Ibrox on 2nd January when it was a case of honours even on the day as the two sides fought out a 2-2 draw which was a much better result for Celtic as theRangers, in Michael Beale’s first Glasgow Derby match in charge of theRangers, desperately needed a win to reduce Celtic’s emphatic nine points lead at the top of the table.
And Mick Beale and theRangers support must have thought that was going to happen because they were inside the final few minutes and just had to see out a 2-1 lead to get their league challenge back on track. But unfortunately for them Kyogo popped up with a composed finish and Celtic were able to celebrate the draw, with theRangers attention turning to the League Cup Final at the end of February. And as we’ve said Kyogo was the man who broke their hearts all over again.
Before Celtic play at St Mirren in the noon kick-off tomorrow there are five Scottish Premiership fixtures today and it might be fun to make some predictions. Hearts are at home to St Johnstone and while the Perth side have had a fine season, the Robbie Neilson will be looking for the three points to give his side some momentum before their trip to Celtic Park on Wednesday night. So for that one we’ll go for Hearts 2 St Johnstone 1.
Livingston entertain Hibs and it’s fair to say that both sides have lacked consistency this season. Hibs though will want to get the points to honour the sad passing of their major shareholder Ron Gordon and even though Livi are a tough opponent on their plastic pitch this could end up with the three points heading back to Easter Road with the scoreline being Livingston 1 Hibs 2.
Kilmarnock are the visitors to Ibrox this afternoon and a home win will see Celtic’s lead cut to six points before the Hoops take the field in Paisley tomorrow lunchtime. After the disappointment of watching Celtic lift the trophy (actually they didn’t watch as in what was an incredibly unsporting gesture the entire losing team at Hampden did not hang around for the winners to receive their medals and lift the League cup), Beale’s side will be looking to get the points, otherwise their fans will be unhappy, to say the least. Kilmarnock seldom take anything from Ibrox and with James Tavernier due a penalty expect the game to finish theRangers 3 Kilmarnock 0.
Ross County v Motherwell up in Dingwall is an interesting relegation battle. Former Celt Malky Mackay has seen his side’s form and results improve after a successful January transfer window. The Highlanders thumped Dundee United 4-0 last week and that cost manager Liam Fox his job. Today Motherwell are managed by the former Ross County boss Stuart Kettlewell and both sides need a victory as the relegation or play-off spot looms for both. It might be a shock result but Kettlewell might just get off to a flying start with a scoreline of Ross County 1 Motherwell 2.
And there’s another managerial story in the New Firm (are they still called that?) battle at Tannadice when Jim Goodwin – sacked by Aberdeen last month after a horrendous run of results including 5-0 loss to Hearts, 6-0 defeat at Hibs and that Scottish Cup giant-killing shock at lowly Darvel. Aberdeen incidentally remain the last side to have beaten Real Madrid in a European Final and many have tried and failed since Alex Ferguson pulled that one off back in 1983. Goodwin’s first match is of course against The Dons and following the Kettlewell logic we’ll go for a scoreline of Dundee United 2 Aberdeen 1.
When the dust settles on all that drama attention will turn to the game tomorrow which is live on Sky Sports. Credit to the former Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson as he’s got his team playing an attractive brand of football – outside of games against the two Glasgow giants, we he opts for a more pragmatic approach, as is his right. Lightning doesn’t strike twice tomorrow and with Kyogo, Celtic has the player who can make the difference in a match we reckon will end up St Mirren 0 Celtic 2.