Scottish Premiership: Issues to look at this weekend

Ticket, scarf, vaccine passport. The latter match-going important makes a Scottish soccer debut this weekend and forgetting it might imply lacking out on seeing your workforce.

Half of the Premiership video games – at Hearts, Rangers and Aberdeen – will entice crowds of over 10,000. With Aberdeen selecting to postpone their roll out, solely supporters at Tynecastle and Ibrox can be topic to identify checks below the brand new certification scheme.

As soon as safely inside, this Premiership weekend affords up a top-of-the desk showdown, Scott Brown’s Celtic reunion, and Dundee looking for a much-need victory in a Tayside derby.

Let’s delve in….

Whose momentum will falter at Tynecastle?

The silence is deafening from Robbie Neilson’s critics now as Hearts jostle for high spot following promotion. So robustly have Hearts began the marketing campaign that it begs the query – simply how excessive can they end?

Within the Tynecastle males’s favour, Rangers lack their of invincibility from final season and Celtic proceed to wrestle.

Neilson’s aspect – unbeaten within the league and only a level off the highest – can depend on a powerful backbone from Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon by way of to centre-back midfielder Beni Baningime and Northern Eire striker Liam Boyce.

Hearts proceed to profit from Boyce’s present worldwide exile, with the 30-year-old netting 9 occasions in 12 appearances this season.

To maintain their momentum ticking alongside, Hearts should negotiate a tough fixture towards one other in-form aspect. Since steering Motherwell of relegation worries final season, Graham Alexander now has them peering down from fourth, simply two factors from the summit.

Such has been Alexander’s transformative impression, solely Rangers (56) and Celtic (44) have collected extra factors than Motherwell (42) for the reason that former Scotland defender took cost at Fir Park in January.

Their vigorous fashion of play might not all the time be free-flowing, but it surely positive is efficient. Will September’s Premiership supervisor of the month declare one other scalp?

Brown set for emotional Celtic reunion

Chest puffed out? Test. Glint within the eye? Test? Extensive smirk or snarl? Test. The total Scott Brown repertoire is certain to be on present when he takes centre stage at Pittodrie on Sunday as his previous and current collide.

After 14 trophy-laden years with Celtic, the skilled midfielder faces the Glasgow membership for the primary time since switching to grow to be the heartbeat of Stephen Glass’ Aberdeen.

The league desk makes grim studying for Glass and Celtic counterpart Ange Postecoglou, two managers nonetheless within the infancy of their first Premiership jobs and encountering loads of teething issues.

Celtic’s worst begin to a league season since 1998 leaves them in sixth place, whereas Aberdeen are one spot beneath having gone eight video games with out victory in all competitions and misplaced three successive Premiership matches.

After Celtic sank to a different defeat towards Bayer Leverkusen within the Europa League on Thursday, Postecoglou will want an enormous consequence to supply some optimism amid a haze of gloom.

Brown has spoken of his intention to show Pittodrie right into a “fortress” once more, though it was something however throughout his time at Celtic as he helped them rack up a formidable away report towards Aberdeen.

The Dons’ final residence league win over Celtic got here again in 2015, when Ronny Deila was nonetheless roaring, with eight defeats and two attracts since.

Nevertheless, Postecoglou’s Celtic have taken zero league factors from 9 on provide this season, so vulnerabilities are there to be exploited if Aberdeen can rouse themselves.

Celtic's former nine-in-a-row skipper Scott Brown is aiming to help Aberdeen to a first win in nine games
Celtic’s former nine-in-a-row skipper Scott Brown is aiming to assist Aberdeen to a primary win in 9 video games

Can Dundee ease their plight?

In contrast to their factors tally, Dundee’s woes simply preserve mounting. Backside of the desk, no league wins, no objectives in 5.

Their persistent strike scarcity is not helped by a pair of forwards being embroiled in controversy. Leigh Griffith has been charged by the Scottish FA – and the police – for kicking a flare right into a stand of St Johnstone followers, whereas Alex Jakubiak is awaiting scan outcomes on a shoulder damage reportedlyexternal-link sustained a metropolis centre altercation.

Ought to he get well from an ankle knock, Griffiths is assured a lower than heat reception from the St Johnstone help in Saturday’s Tayside derby in Perth.

Dundee’s hopes of reviving their season are a minimum of bolstered by the hosts’ defensive points. The rocks on which St Johnstone’s historic cup double was constructed final season are all lacking, with Jason Kerr offered to Wigan Athletic and fellow centre-backs Jamie McCart and Liam Gordon each injured.

Whereas Callum Davidson’s males knocked Dundee out of the League Cup, they’re only one win and three factors higher off within the league. They usually have made a behavior of toiling towards newly-promoted sides, drawing all eight matches in a sequence stretching again to March 2019.

‘Intimidating’ ambiance awaits in high two showdown

Hibs followers will file into Easter Street on Sunday for a top-of-the-table showdown – 50 miles away.

The continued lockout of away followers by Rangers – and Celtic – has Hibs head coach Jack Ross braced for an “intimidating” ambiance in Sunday’s journey to the champions.

With Hibs supporters having to make do with a beam-back in Leith, their workforce’s hopes of preserving tempo within the title race face an acid check at Ibrox.

Leaders Rangers are some extent clear, however their run of 21 successive residence league victories was led to a 1-1 draw with Motherwell a fortnight in the past. One other slip-up could be the primary time they’ve dropped Premiership factors in back-to-back Ibrox outings below Steven Gerrard.

They’re additionally coming into the match on the again of a turbulent loss within the Czech Republic that was marred by booing of Glen Kamara by Sparta Prague followers previous to his dismissal.

Hibs boast the league’s high scorer in Martin Boyle – six objectives from seven video games – but the Australian worldwide has by no means netted towards Rangers in 10 earlier league conferences.

Ross might do together with his in-form ahead ending that barren stretch as Hibs try to say a primary win over Rangers in three-and-a-half years.

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