Scottish Premier League Live Week 3
Saturday, 18 August 2007
Dundee v Hibernian
If Dundee United were looking for a nice easy game to right the wrongs of their last controversial defeat to Kilmarnock, they certainly will not receive any sympathy from Hibernian. Last season saw Hibernian take 7 of the 9 points which the two teams contested and this included a crushing 0-3 defeat at Tannadice Park.
Dundee United manager Craig Levein will undoubtedly want a better performance on Saturday and he will know only to well that 3 points against Hibernian is a necessity to stay near to the top of the table and avoid the dog fight which is starting at the bottom of the table. He will most likely stay with the same line up that worked so hard and nearly succeeded in taking the points from Kilmarnock.
John Collins will try to stay with the side that ended the match against Gretna, which will see super sub Merouane Zemmama line up from the start. Benjelloun will need to be handled very carefully by the Dundee midfield, as he is consistently crossing well and creating chances, although he may give someone else the responsibility of penalties after missing one against Gretna.
Hearts v Gretna
With the Hearts team obviously lacking confidence at the moment, this could be a very good chance for Gretna to make their attacking football pay with not only their first win but an away win as well.
With Craig Gordon finally moving on, Hearts seem to lack any leadership which in turn is producing football where their ability to create chances let alone goals is diminishing fast. With only one goal so far this season a great deal of pressure is growing on the strikers to start producing and this is certainly one game where there will be no excuses for Velicka and Driver.
Having had 4 goals put past them in their last two games many would assume that Gretna had already resigned themselves to relegation already, however the attacking football they have tried to play has brought dividends to them especially in their last game where they took a 2-0 lead before tiring and allowing Hibernian to put 4 past them in the last in the last half an hour.
The good thing for Gretna is that McMenamin has scored his first of no doubt many Scottish Premier League goals. He may have started to wonder if he had the class to be a premiership football and his strike against Hibernian should have reassured him of that. He should be partnered again by Fabian Yantorno who himself opened up his goal scoring account. Whether Davie Irons will persist with a three pronged attack remains to be seen but for now Gretna are not pressing any panic buttons.
Motherwell v Kilmarnock
Both teams can count themselves lucky for the league positions they currently find themselves in. Motherwell especially will be in unknown territory after 2 successive wins against two of the weaker teams in the Scottish Premier League.
Past from shows the teams equal in their win/ loss average for last season, however Motherwell will remember the 5-0 win they celebrated early in the 2006-07 season and will hope for a repeat performance. With McGarry, ODonnell and McCormack already scoring from the front, they will definitely be confident of adding another victory to there turn around in fortune under new manager Mark McGhee.
Jim Jeffries on the other hand will know that his Kilmarnock side hasn’t performed as well as they should despite having held Celtic and won against an unlucky Dundee. A more confident performance will be a necessity as Kilmarnock look to show their premiership pedigree in what will be a tough match for both teams. Nish and Naismith should lead the line again in an unchanged Kilmarnock team which took the points from Dundee.
Rangers v Falkirk
Rangers look to continue there 100% record with the visit of Falkirk to Ibrox. Falkirk themselves may have taken a knock to their confidence after following their own 4-0 demolition of Gretna with a 4-1 defeat to champions Celtic last week, but they are safe in the knowledge that they were able to match Celtic for long periods and only when they had Milne sent off did they capitulate at the last 15 minutes of the match.
Last season saw the three points go with the home team for all their matches and on Rangers form they may just be too good whatever Falkirk try.
Despite Rangers playing in the Champions League midweek they still have a very strong squad and Walter Smith will still be spoiled for choice as to who leads the line with Novo and Boyd being the favourites, if they make it through the Champions League game unscathed.
Falkirk have no such midweek worries and will again look to Michael Higdon to add to his goal scoring so far as they seek the three points.
St Mirren v Inverness CT
Both teams will be desperate to take points from this match as come the end of the season they know only to well based on recent experience of relegation fights that even 1 point can make a lot of difference.
Out of the two only Inverness have actually scored a goal and on the last day of the 2006-07 season went to St Mirren and took the three points with a 0-1 win. Inverness manager Charlie Christie will be hoping for more from the strikers and not rely on Ross Tokley to score from out of defence, the problem being is that the Inverness strike force so far has been ineffective and changes must be on the cards.
St Mirren face almost the same problems with their strikers. In their two previous matches they have held firm in defence but in the Scottish Premier League you can only do that so long without making chances count up front.
In all probability the game will end as a draw but if either side does manage to snatch all three points expect them to celebrate as if they had won the title!
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Aberdeen v Celtic
Aberdeen v Celtic has been chosen as the Sunday afternoon live football match and both teams will be desperate for the points. Aberdeen have been less than impressive in their first two games and are languishing at the wrong end of the table for a team who are looking to start a UEFA cup campaign shortly. The defence which earned them the European place last season has been very sloppy and with the added problem of Lee Mair being out for at least 6 weeks having sustained knee ligament damage then Jimmy Calderwood will be desperate for the defence to tighten up against the champions of the Scottish Premier League.
Celtic should be unchanged if their mid week Champions league fixture see’s no new injury worries for Gordon Strachan. Things seemed to click back into place in last week’s defeat of Falkirk as the champions waited for their opportunities which eventually paid dividends. Kenny Miller especially was involved in most of the build up work and managed to find time to grab a goal himself which took his team ahead.
Having failed to take any points from Celtic last season Aberdeen will be desperate to take something from the game because the worry will be that loosing becomes a very hard habit to break.
Tags: Dundee, Hibernian, Hearts, Gretna, Scottish Premier League, Motherwell, Kilmarnock, Rangers, Falkirk, Champions League, St Mirren, Inverness, Aberdeen, Celtic, UEFA Cup