The points table is beginning to form now in Scotland. The Champions look imperious, but several teams are still vying to be challengers. Let’s take a peek at this weekend’s games in the Scottish Premiership.
DUNDEE VS CELTIC
Celtic may never have gone into a match with more confidence than this weekend.
In case you missed it, Brendan Rodgers’ men put in a sensational performance in their 3-3 draw against Manchester City on Wednesday night.
It was scary for the rest of the Scottish Premiership as the Hoops showed they still have several levels they can move up to, if necessary. The Celts refused to sit back and played to their strengths.
The idea will necessarily remain the same for Celtic this weekend, and they will be up for a stiff contest at the Dens Park on Saturday. Scott Sinclair, Tom Rogic, and James Forrest will all be part of the starting XI, but Moussa Dembele will certainly be the man to watch for.
The former Fulham man took his tally to 12 for the season against City, thanks to a hat-trick against Rangers and a double against Kilmarnock.
Dundee may want to try and pack the defence as opposed to the midfield for this one. However, the strategy is a proven failure as many sides tried doing that in the Premiership and failed to get anything.
With Rogic being such an influence in the attacking midfield, he’s proving too much even for teams with a midfield five.
The Australian’s trickery is making him a standout and his jinking runs are allowing Sinclair and Forrest to get a lot of freedom.
There’s no real option for Paul Hartley’s men than to contain the Hoops. So five at the back would give him more of a chance than leaving the midfield exploited.
Celtic haven’t lost in the last 26 meetings with Dundee, a run stretching back to 2001. The unbeaten run goes even longer if you’re looking for a Dees win at Dens. It has been nearly 30 years since Celtic lost in Tayside.
PREDICTION: Dundee 0-3 Celtic
RANGERS VS PARTICK THISTLE
Rangers just can’t pick themselves up.
Mark Warburton’s men suffered an unfortunate 2-1 defeat up in Aberdeen last week, a result that made it four league game’s without a win.
There was an impressive 5-0 win over Queen of the South, but a lot of the credibility was taken away after the loss at Pittodrie.
Rangers are certainly in limbo defensively. So it’s a good thing they’re coming up against the joint lowest scorers in the league.
Partick haven’t impressed at all this season and languishing at the bottom of Scottish table. Going forward, they’re wasteful and rarely look like grabbing a game by the scruff of the neck.
They don’t have enough dynamism in their squad. Except for Steven Lawless, there isn’t much in the Jags side to be scared of.
Of course, it doesn’t help when you have four of your best players out.
The absence of Tomas Cerny, Stuart Bannigan, Mustapha Dumbuya, and Gary Fraser should worry the Partick side who could really be using Bannigan’s influence.
Without him, teams are running over the midfield far too easily.
Rangers are showing a gradual improvement in performances. They’ll look to stamp their authority on Thistle, controlling the midfield with quick passing.
Usual problems will exist, but Rangers should get through this one to end the winless streak.
PREDICTION: Rangers 2-1 Partick Thistle
KILMARNOCK VS ABERDEEN
After last weekend’s win, many have Aberdeen as favourites to challenge for the title.
However, if that’s the case, Scottish football is in trouble.
The Dons may have beaten Rangers 2-1 last week, but they were once again poor.
Last season, Derek McInnes’ men were praised for their movement, quality passing and a high voltage tempo. It was this quality in their play that ran Celtic close in the title race last season.
However, Aberdeen may only be four points behind Celtic despite having played a game more, but their current performance isn’t a reflection of what they achieved past year. The Dandies have won only three of their seven games so far this season.
They will, however, have the chance to win three league games on the bounce this weekend.
Aberdeen has a good record against Kilmarnock as they have won all of the 10 games between two sides.
The Dons are confident and should win this convincingly.
PREDICTION: Aberdeen 2-0 Kilmarnock