Scottish Premiership: Match Preview and Prediction

Our SPL correspondent David Walton takes you around all the action that matters this weekend North of the boarder.

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Celtic and Rangers face off, Aberdeen and Hearts face potentially tricky home games. Here, we break down the top games in the north of the United Kingdom.

Celtic Vs RangersCeltic FC Champions League

By far the standout game of the weekend, Celtic and Rangers will re-start their league feud after four years without the Old Firm derby in the Premier League.

Previous meetings aren’t much to go by, as both sides have changed so much since they faced each other twice in the last two years in cup competitions.

Celtic knocked a crisis-filled Rangers out of the League Cup early 2015, but Rangers got their revenge one year later when they ousted the Parkhead side on penalties.

These days, though, Celtic are a different animal.

The Hoops have so much dynamism in the attacking midfield, with Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic, in particular, terrorising opposition defences in Scotland and Europe.

Added to that, Brendan Rodgers has re-invigorated the likes of James Forrest and Captain Scott Brow.

Celtic will line up to go all out attacking Mark Warburton’s Rangers with a 4-2-3-1 setup.

The intriguing aspect of this clash will be how Rangers set up, though. Rangers staff have already come out several times stating that they will attack every team they come up against.

We expect Rangers to play a quick counter-attacking game, and by doing this Celtic should be able to take advantage of what has been a ropey Rangers defence who are yet to keep a clean sheet in the league.

With Celtic scoring 19 goals already in five home games, they should have too much for a Rangers team still a work-in-progress.

PREDICTION: Celtic 4-1 Rangers

Aberdeen Vs. Inverness Caledonian ThistleAberdeen-vs-Inverness

Aberdeen still have hopes of being Celtic’s main challengers for the Premiership title this season. However, they’ll have to bounce back from their slow start against Inverness on Saturday.

The Dons are still smarting from a 4-1 defeat at Celtic Park two weeks ago, but the positive drew from that result was that no matter who they face, they’ll attack.

Inverness could be lambs to the slaughter here. They’ve only won one of their first four Premiership games, losing the first three fixtures and shipping 10 goals in the process. They also suffered a humiliating 1-0 League Cup loss to Championship side Alloa Atheltic.

However, they showed a real aggression and will to win in their 2-1 win against St Johnstone last week, and finally started to show a bit of organisation throughout the side.

New manager Richie Foran has yet to register an away win in the league as Inverness boss, and he’ll probably be cautious in going all out to do that on Saturday.

Aberdeen have so much attacking quality, with Adam Rooney, Kenny McLean, and Niall McGinn all starting the season well, they should prove more than enough to get the points in this one.

PREDICTION: Aberdeen 2-0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Hearts Vs Hamilton AcciesHearts vs. Hamilton

Hearts are still to convince they’re a side capable of giving the likes of Celtic and Rangers a run for their money.

However, with suggestions that Robbie Neilson isn’t making all of the playing decisions, an air of uncertainty has been blowing over Tynecastle recently.

Regardless, recent matches have seen an improvement. Since their opening-day 2-1 defeat to Celtic, the Jambos are unbeaten in their three league games since.

Drawing 0-0 at Aberdeen before recording fairly convincing 5-1 and 2-1 wins over Inverness and Partick Thistle respectively.

The last two games were a contrast from each other. Hearts dominated Inverness all over the pitch, and everything went right. However, they had to dig in against a Partick side who turned the game into a scrap.

Hearts are beginning to show title-winning qualities, but their consistency has generally let them down in the past.

They also have strong outlets in Tony Watt and Connor Sammon and brilliant flair in the wide areas through the pace of Sam Nicholson and Jamie Walker. They’ll set up to go all out attacking against Hamilton to blow them away.

Accies have had a respectable start to the season for their standards, but they look like a team who away from home and hope for the best as opposed to finding a system and sticking to it.

They don’t have a great balance in their side and are struggling to create many goal-scoring opportunities.

Their 1-0 win over Ross County last time out was a fantastic three points for them, but Tynecastle will be far too much for them this time around.

PREDICTION: Hearts 3-0 Hamilton Accies.

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