Tuesday, 19 February 2013

SPL - Tuesday 19th Feb Match Thoughts


Sorry folks been a bit off the radar recently but I'm back, no doubt you have all missed me........;-)

 Anyway, new format below, featured game followed by summary of other matches. The featured game cam also be found on selectabet.net website, take a look!

Good luck as always.

The Gaffa.

Motherwell v Dundee Utd
SPL - 19th February 2013 - KO 7.45pm

Second place Motherwell host nineth placed Dundee Utd in the SPL tonight in a fixture that you would normally say pitches two evenly matched teams together and I certainly believe that is the case. I'm happy to ignore league positions as the Scottish Premier has been a bit "tit for tat" between the rest of the teams bar Celtic and Dundee this season. The bookmakers have given the edge to Motherwell understandably with home advantage and are available at 11/10 (Coral), with Dundee Utd price at 13/5 (BetVictor) for the away win and a Draw being similarly priced at 13/5 (bet365). However, this is not a market that interest me as to be honest no result would ultimately surprise me greatly!

Motherwell have been quietly going about their business this year and now find themselves up into 2nd place after a slow start which I think had to do with the distraction caused by their small foray in Europe at the beginning of the season. Manager McCall has been quick to quash excitement as he knows a couple of bad games could see Motherwell plumet back down the league. The players will be full of confidence though with a superb 3-0 win over Inverness at the weekend, making them unbeaten in their last 4 games at home. Another boost comes with the return of former Scotland international James McFadden for a second spell at the club, although I imagine he may only be in a postion to come off the bench tonight. Captain Lasley and Kerr are out tonight through suspension but Ramsden is available after recovering from a suspected hand fracture.

Dundee Utd will be looking to put last weekends 6-2 defeat at Celtic Park behind them which saw them drop 3 places in the league. To be fair though they did meet a wounded Celtic team who simply played very well on the day. This was new manager Jackie McNamara's first defeat since he's been in charge but I reckon apart from the obvious defensive frailties, he can take some positives away from a match in which they scored twice and even missed a penalty. The leaky defence is starting to become a real issue though and certainly wont be helped with an injury to Gavin Gunning that may see him out for the rest of the season.

On that note, goals is the angle that I'm looking for in this match and I'm pretty sure we should see them as the stats are there to back them up. Motherwell's last 6 out 6 homes games have gone over 2.5 goals together with the fact that Dundee Utd's last 9 out of 9 away matches have gone over 2.5 goals! Indeed if you look at just Dundee Utd, in their last 17 matches (home & away) 15 of them have gone over 2.5 goals. For some reason Ladbrokes have set their price for OVER 2.5 GOALS much higher than their competitors at 4/5 and I'm happy to have a piece of that! There will be sufficient striking talent on the pitch in Higdon, Ojamaa, Mackay-Steven, Russell and Daly to cover the over 2.5 goals comfortably in my opinion. Lets just hope that McNamara has not had the time to do much defensive coaching on the United back four.

For people that like to back an anytime scorer Michael Higdon at 11/8 (Bet Victor) is the standout, he has scored 8 goals in his last 6 home games for Motherwell and is clearly bang on form.

As far as the result goes, as I said early, it could go either way and to be honest I don't care!

Good Luck.

Bet selected :  OVER 2.5 Goals @ 4/5 (Ladbrokes)

St Johnstone v Celtic   

St Johnstone are unbeaten at home in their last 5 matches but certainly will have to be at their very best if they are to stop this Celtic team clocking a result following their outstanding performance at the weekend verus Dundee Utd. Celtic looked revitalised with Stokes starting up front with Hooper together with Commons appearing to have found his form. In truth Celtic are dangerous all over the park and I expect them to handle the threat of Vine and probably MacLean to claim a win.

The best price of 1.5 (Stan James) doesn't really appeal to me though. Tiny bet on Celtic HT/FT 2.15 (betvictor)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Australian Open 2013

It's finally here, the first grand slam of the 2013 season is upon us, starting at midnight on Sunday the stars of the ATP and WTA do battle at Melbourne Park in Melbourne. So what do we need to know? Who's on form? Who suits the conditions? And most importantly who's going to win?

The Basics

To start with, as it is a tour Grand Slam event the men will be competing on a best of 5 set basis unlike regular tour events where they only compete over best of 3. This makes a massive difference as with the heat, stamina and conditioning will play their part.  A tiebreak is played in the first four sets at six games-all. There is no tie breaker in the fifth set if we go beyound 6-6 with the winner needing a two-game margin. The women as normal play best of three sets. A tiebreak is played in the first two sets at six games-all. Slightly different from normal tour events though, the third set also has no tie breaker at 6-6 again with the winner requiring a two-game margin.

The Surface

In tennis, probably more than any other sport the surface that the players play on makes a HUGE difference, as put simply certain types of surfaces particularly suit and advantage certain players. The type of court they use at Melbourne is the Hard Court but more importantly it is the Plexicushion surface which is officially rated as medium to medium-fast paced. However, if you ask the players they will describe it as slow, epecially Federer. To add to the slow pace of the courts, the material they are made of tends to fluff up the balls more which makes them heavier and thus they travel through the air slower. This will mean that there will be longer rallies and big servers will have less of an advantage. This plays into the hands of players like Djokovic, Murray and Ferrer who are happy to grind away at points. Federer often complains about the pace of the courts getting slower and slower nowadays and this is because his chances of success here lie with keeping the points as short as possible. Any drawn out baseline rallies that he gets involved in normally end up in an error from him as he finds it harder to hit through the good defensive players.

The Contenders


Novak Djokovic              - Evens (William Hill)
Andy Murray                  - 7/4 (betway)
Roger Federer                - 6/1 (Boylesports)
Juan Martin Del Potro    - 22/1 (Boylesports)
David Ferrer                   - 30/1 (Bet Victor)

NB : Note that Rafa Nadal is out injured

In the mens event there is a notable gap between the big 4 or 5 from the rest of the field and to be honest it has been that way for a good few years and in my opinion will continue for the foreseeable future. Previously I would have just said the big 4 but now I include David Ferrer in the mix purely for his dogged and consistant game and the fact he goes into the tournament on the back of a win at Auckland. For me though the most important thing when the draw was made was that Murray and defending champion Djokovic were drawn on different sides of the draw so they can't meet till the final. To be honest I really can't see anybody stopping Djokovic getting to the final so I shall just take that as a given. He is a master on the Plexicushion surface and it suits his game perfectly. Since they changed to this surface he’s won 3 of the last 5 Australian Opens, he’s only dropped 16 sets since 2008 (winning 88 sets) and he only dropped 1 set en route to his first win in 08 and then again on his win in 2011. These are truely frightening stats for his opponents and I have it down to only Andy Murray that is truely capable of stopping him claiming his third Australian Open in a row. On paper Murray's route to the final is quite tricky but certainly achievable: R1: Haase, R2: Sousa, R3: Mayer, R4: Dolgopolov/Simon, QF: Del Potro, SF: Federer, F: Djokovic.

So there it is I have it down to a Djokovic V Murray final and unfortuanately will have to go against my countryman being able to topple Djokovic's dominance on this surface.

The Verdict : Djokovic to win


Serena Williams           - 10/11 (William Hill)
Victoria Azarenka         - 5/1 (Bwin)
Maria Sharapova          - 10/1 (William Hill)
Agnieszka Radwanska  - 16/1 (William Hill)
Li Na                              - 25/1 (Betfair)

The women's game is slightly different to the mens game in that there are a pack of players all chasing Serena Williams who is clearly head and shoulders above the rest and seems to be able to beat the field at will whether she's coming back from injury/illness or finger picking what events she chooses to play in. When the draw was made the big news was that Serena Williams and defending champ Azarenka were both drawn on the same side of the draw. Maria Sharapova will probably be the happiest about that although she will have a few possible tough opponents in the early rounds with the chance of facing Serena's sister Venus, the "Pocket Rocket" Cibulkova and Angelique Kerber. Sharapova has actually not played this year yet as she has been nursing a shoulder injury but with her fighting qualities I see her reaching at least the quarters. A player that I like and the conditions should suit is Radwanska who has had a great start to 2013, she is 9-0 so far and won the titles at Auckland and Sydney. Another notable player is Li Na who won the title here in 2011, when she is on form her powerful flat hitting can be very dangerous.

It is the obvious choice and at ridiculously short odd's but I really can't see anybody stopping Serena Williams claiming the title. Her serve and devestating ground strokes are simply to much for anybody in the women's game to handle. She is on a mission to claim her 2nd non calander Grand Slam, she did this previously when she won the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2002, and Australian Open in 2003, and who would bet against her?

Verdict : Serena Williams to Win

Outright Bets:

Novak Djokovic to win at Evens

Serena Williams to win at 10/11

1st Round bets:

Julien Benneteau v Grigor Dimitrov match to go OVER 3.5 sets @ 8/15 (bet365)
David Goffin v Fernando Verdasco match to go OVER 3.5 sets @8/15 (bet365)

Place as singles and double

Sunday, 30 December 2012

SPL - Sunday 30th Dec - Dundee Utd v St Mirren

Dundee Utd v St Mirren

Dundee Utd 

Injuries - Mackay-Steven, Dillon

Probable XI -  Cierzniak, Watson, McLean, Gunning, Douglas, Flood, Rankin, Armstrong, Skacel, Daly, Russell (4-4-2)

St Mirren 

Injuries - McLean

Probable XI - Samson, Van Zanten, Mair, McAusland, Dummett, Teale, Robertson, Carey, Goodwin, McGowan, Thompson (4-4-1-1)

Prediction : Dundee Utd 1- 1 St Mirren

First look at this match and you think - easy home win......but I'm not so sure!

St Mirren have only actually won once away from home all season and that win came at Dundee so doesn't really impress me. They have though managed 4 draws out of the 10 away matches probably because they change their system away from home and are more compact in the midfield. After a "wee" delve into past fixtures between the two teams it is noticable that they are normally always very close encounters, with 5 out of the last 7 matches played over the last 2 seasons ending in a draw. (including the last 2 played at Tannadice).

Another startling stat that pops up when looking at this match and more particular Dundee Utd's home record is that they have failed to win a match at home in 9 attempts, since the Dundee Derby back in mid August. (drawing 7 of them).

So for me this word "DRAW" keeps popping up and as much as I always try to avoid selecting a draw I reckon that could be exactly what we are looking at here.

Minimal stakes bet on a DRAW @3.6 (Boylesports) because I don't like betting boring draws and also do think Dundee Utd are the better team but sometimes you have to listen to the stats over the head (and visa versa.....if you know what I mean! lololol)

Friday, 28 December 2012

SPL - Sat 29th Dec Team News & Thoughts

Dundee v Aberdeen


Injuries - Milne, Grassi, Finnigan, Kerr, McLuskey

Probable XI - Douglas, Irvine, Lockwood, Benedictus, Gallagher, McAllister,O'Donnell, McBride, Conroy, Riley, Nish (4-4-1-1)


Injuries - Jack, Milsom, Clark, Naysmith, Osbourne

Probable XI - Langfield, Magennis, Considine, Anderson, Reynolds, Rae, Hughes, Hayes, Fraser, McGinn, Vernon (4-4-2)

Predictions : Dundee 0-1 Aberdeen

I've no doubt that old Craig Brown was as stunned as me to see Aberdeen go down 4-1 against Motherwell but they will just have to pick themselves back up and what better place than at bottom of the league Dundee. The Dandy Dons have already beaten Dundee twice this season and will no doubt fancy their chances again. Aberdeen have Stephen Hughes, Rob Milsom and Ryan Fraser available again following injury and this will add to the team. Dundee keep ploding along but the SPL is just too much fr them. AWAY WIN @ 1.95 (Coral).

Hibs v Celtic


Injuries- none

Probable XI - Williams, Clancy, Hanlon, McPake, McGivern, Wotherspoon, Taiwo, Deegan, Cairney, Doyle, Griffiths (4-4-2)


Injuries - Forrest, Mulgrew, Matthews, Commons, Stokes, Ledley

Probable XI - Foster, Lustig, Ambrose, Wilson, Izaguirre, Kayal, Brown, Wanyama, Samaras, Watt, Hooper (4-4-2)

Prediction : Hibs 1-3 Celtic

Hibs are doing their usual, storming start to the league up till around christmas and then free fall. It all started up in Inverness with a thumping 3-0 defeat then losing from a 2-0 lead against Motherwell and topped off with a home defeat to Ross County on boxing day. Things are likely to get worse for them if the expected player exits happen when the transfer window opens up at the start of 2013. Lets face it without Griffiths they could start to really struggle.

Hibs have not won at home to Celtic for over 4 years and have lost the last 6 home fixtures in a row, strangely they normally give a better account of themselves when they travel to Glasgow. It's going to be tough for the Edinburgh team as Celtic have quiet a formidable away record this season having lost just once, with 7 wins and 2 draws.

Hibs have a full squad to choose from with both Clancy and Deegan returning to the team on Boxing day. Celtic, however, are starting to pick up a number of injuries to key players but are fortunate to just about have a large enough squad to cover it. With Forrest, Mulgrew, Matthews, Commons, Stokes and Ledley all sidelined you would have to say that they are slightly understrength as most of these players I would consider starting XI players.

So Lennon will need to shuffle the pack a little but I think we are likely to see a similar team to the one he put out on the Boxing Day victory at Dundee probably with Lustig coming in at right back as Matthews is injured.

Unsurprisingly most sports book's have Celtic down as short odds favourites to win this match with the best price available being a little skinny in my opinion at 4/9 (Coral). Hibs fans will remember that they have actually drawn 2 of the last 3 games against Celtic, albeit at Celtic Park, but if you fancy a draw 19/5 (Bet Victor) is an attractive price. With 8/1(Bet Victor) on offer for a Home win.

I am tempted by the 19/20 (William Hill) for Both Teams to Score, as I always feel Leigh Griffiths can score a goal in a game from nothing but I've been put off by the fact that Celtic have won their last 4 games to nil and Hibs failed to score in their last run out.

The bet that I have selected for this match is a "Highest Scoring Half" bet. I have taken the 2nd half to be the highest scoring half at 11/10 (Betfred) as I can see there being a few Christmas cobwebs to be blown off in the 1st half of this match and think it will start slowly. Hibs have the players now to put in a battling performance with the likes of Deegan and Cairney in midfield and a big physical defence which may prove hard for Celtic to break down. Ultimately I think Celtic will win this match by a couple of goals but I am banking on them only showing their dominance in the later stages.

Prediction : Hibs 1-3 Celtic

Selection : The 2nd Half to be the highest Scoring @ 11/10

NB : As usual I will also be placing a side bet on Efe Ambrose anytime scorer @ 9/1 (Ladbrokes)
I'm telling you his goal is coming any week now..........


Motherwell v Kilmarnock


Injuries - Saunders

Probable XI - Randolph, Hateley, Hutchison, Ramseden, Hammell, Lasley, Law, Murphy, Humphrey, Ojamaa, Higdon (4-4-2)


Injuries - Pascali, Sissoko, Racchi, Hay, Gros

Probable XI - Bell, Fowler, O'Leary, Nelson, McKeown, Borja, Kelly, Dayton, Harkins, Heffernan, Sheridan (4-4-2)

Prediction : Motherwell 3 - 1 Kilmarnock 

I'm going against all the stats on this one and putting down Motherwell for a comfy HOME WIN. It's true that Kilmarnock are a bit of a bogey team for Motherwell together with the fact that Well have been hopeless at home this season and goals are usually scarse in this fixture but I think Motherwell are now showing their true potential. They are starting to play the kind of football we all know they are capable of and the goals are starting to flow again. Jamie Murphy for me has been the key to the turnaround that now sees Motherwell joint 2nd in the league. He has been influencing games much more coming off the left wing and has been scoring the goals that his talent suggests. 2 bets on this game HOME WIN @ 2.0 (William Hill)   and also MOTHERWELL TO SCORE OVER 1.5 GOALS @ 1.91 (Coral)


Ross County v Hearts

Ross County 

Injuries - Kettlewell

Probable XI - Brown, Fitzpatrick, Munro, Boyd, Kovacevic, Lawson, Quinn, Vigurs, Brittain, Morrow, Glen (4-4-1-1)


Injuries - Hamell, Grainger
Doubtful - Webster

Probable XI - MacDonald, McGowan, Zaliukas, Webster, McHattie, Barr, Taouil, Driver, Stevenson, Sutton, Smith (4-4-2)

Prediction : Ross County 1-1 Hearts

Hearts are waiting to hear whether Andy webster will make this game and if he doesn't make the game i feel that will be a massive blow for the Jambos and could certainly affect the result. Hearts whole game is based on the solid foundations at the back that the Webster/Zaliukas partnership give, so fingers crossed he plays. The fact that Hearts have only won 1 away match all season leaves me puzzled by the price that Hearts are to win this match and I believe it really is a good opportunity to put in a LAY here. To me the likely and best result Hearts can hope for is a draw so a win seems unlikely. LAY HEART@ 2.3 (Betfair)


St Johnstone v Inverness

St Johnstone 

Injuries - none
Doubtful - Millar, Anderson

Probable XI - Mannus, Mackay, Wright, McCracken, Scobbie, Pawlett, Cregg, M.Davidson, Craig, Tade, MacLean (4-4-2)


Injuries - Ross, King, Hogg
Doubtful - Meekings

Probable XI - Reguero, Raven, G.Shinnie, Cooper, Warren, Doran, Tudur-Jones, Draper, Foran, A.Shinnie, McKay (4-4-1-1)

Prediction : St Johnstone 1-2 Inverness

Forget Hibs v Celtic I reckon this will be match of the day in the SPL tomorrow. Again, St Johnstone are a bit of a bogey team for Inverness but its hard to count on previous results as this Inverness team is a completely different proposition from last season and are my tip for finishing as runners up barring injuries. McKay's goal scoring surely has not gone un-noticed down south so they will have to fight to hold onto him also. St Johnstone have only had 1 win the last 10 league games which is something of a worry for them - suddenly they just lost that winning mentality following a really good start to the season. Even though the last 4 matches between these 2 have gone under 2.5 goals you simply cant ignore how many of Invernesses games have been goal fests recently, their last 7 have all gone over 2.5

OVER 2.5 Goals @ 1.82(betfair)


Friday, 14 December 2012

SPL - Saturday 15th Dec Team news & Thoughts

Aberdeen v Kilmarnock


Injuries - Hughes, Fraser, Jack, Milsom, Clark, Naysmith, Osbourne

Probable XI - Langfield, Megennis, Anderson, Reynolds, Considine, Smith, Rae, Shaughnessy, Hayes, McGinn, Vernon (4-4-2)


Injuries - none

Probable XI - Bell, Fowler, Nelson, O'Leary, Tesselaar, Kelly, Racchi, Borja, Harkins, Heffernan, Sheridan (4-4-2)

Prediction : Aberdeen 1-1 Kilmarnock

Another week and more shit coming out of the mouth of the Killie manager Kenny Shiels, I reckon his wife must not be handing it out in the bedroom.....lol, but he is an angry man and it seems all the time, however he has no injuries or suspensions for this game (apart from his own touchline ban...) so lets see what he picks to moan about this week! On the park these two struggle to put back to back performances together and it is this inconsistancy which holds these 2 back from mounting a challange nearer the top of the league. I fancy a score draw here just of the simple reason that Aberdeen love a draw at home. DRAW @ 3.5 (Coral)


Celtic v St Mirren


Injuries - Commons, Forrest

Probable XI - Forster, Matthews, Ambrose, Wilson, Izaguirre, Mulgrew, Wanyama, Brown, Ledley, Samaras, Hooper (4-4-1-1)

St Mirren

Injuries - McGregor, McGowan
Suspended - Mair

Probable XI - Samson, Van Zanten, McAusland, Barrow, Dummett, MacLean, Goodwin, McGinn, Teale, Guy, Thompson (4-4-2)

Prediction : Celtic 4-1 St Mirren

It will surprise a few people that in the league Celtic have actually only claimed 1 point from their last 3 home games played, but it's a fact that oddly they have been much better away from home this season. I'm sure that Neil Lennon will have noticed this and will want to put it right and what better opponents to improve the home record than St Mirren. This is not a venue where the Paisley men get much success at all with just 1 draw to show for themselves in their last 13 visits to the east end of Glasgow. Indeed St Mirren have failed to score against Celtic in their last 7 attempts (home & away) losing all matches with an embarrassing aggregate score of 20-0!

So in all honesty I can see St Mirren taking a bit of a hidding here tomorrow, providing Celtic put out a full team as they again had to play a cup replay midweek. The books do not have much faith in St Mirren either with best odds of 17/1 (betfair) available for an unlikely away win. I imagine big hitters will fancy a bit of the 1/4 (William Hill) that is available on a Celtic win though.

Looking ahead to the game, Celtic will be without the services of Kris Commons and James Forrest which may restrict the natural width they have when the two play, so expect them to be heavily weighted down the left hand side with Izaguirre, Ledley and Mulgrew all expected to start. They have a slight doubt about Matthew's fitness who took a slight knock after scoring in the cup game but Lennon hopes his solid right back will make the match.

St Mirren will again be without the injured McGregor and McGowan but their biggest miss will be the suspended centre half Lee Mair.

For me it is in midfield where Celtic will dominate this match, Scott Brown had a fantastic game in the cup and with big Wanyama along side him that is the strongest pairing in the SPL at the moment. Gary Hooper should be able to expose St Mirren at the back with his pace and power, especially with the absence of Lee Mair. Again I will be expecting Izaguirre and Matthews to be playing more as wingers in this match and this proved very effective against Kilmarnock in their last league match where the quality of Matthew's crossing lead to the third goal being scored by Samaras.

I'm very confident Celtic will win this game as all the need to do is keep Thompson and Guy quiet and let their attacking players do the rest, it should also be quite comfortable so I am willing to take on the asain handicap of -2 goals for Celtic which pays 23/20 (Bet Victor).

A side bet which I shall also be playing, basically in each game till he scores, is Celtic defender Efe Ambrose to score at anytime at 8/1 (Ladbrokes). Sounds a bit crazy but I have been watching him closely in games and he is a defender who really does like to come forward and not just at set plays, he reminds me a little of Chelsea's Ivanovic who is a high scoring defender always with an eye for goal. Ambrose has just 1 goal to his name in 11 starts for Celtic but that is not a true reflection on the amount of opportunities he has had. I have seen him hit the post numerous times and i feel it is just a matter of time before he scores again, so for me the odds are worth taking.

 Selected Bets :

Celtic to cover the -2 Asian Handicap 23/20 (Bet Victor)

Small bet on Efe Ambrose anytime scorer 8/1 (Ladbrokes)

NB : note this preview can also be found at www.selectabet.net  why not go and have a look!


Dundee Utd v Inverness

Dundee Utd

Injuries -  Dillon

Probable XI - Cierzniak, Watson, McLean, Gunning, Douglas, Flood, Rankin, Skacel, Armstrong, Daly, Russell (4-4-2)


Injuries - Hogg

Probable XI - Reguero, Raven, Warren, Meekings, G, Shinnie, Doran, Draper, Foran, Tudur-Jones, A.Shinnie,  McKay (4-4-2)

Prediction : Dundee Utd 2-2 Inverness

Potentially match of the day here me thinks, people who follow me will know I am really starting to like this Inverness side who are now 2nd in the SPL 3pts off Celtic. AND....I genuinely believe that they will be right up their come the end of the season. Big Butch has managed to sculpt a team that other teams will not fancy playing one little bit, their big and physical but yet they have talent in the mix aswell. With Skacel, Daly and Russell on the park I have no worry that Utd will manage at least a goal and Inverness have scored in every game played this season so for me both to score is almost a certainty! (famous last words....) As the odds are a little skinny on this I will use it in a combination bet simply with Celtic to win to produce around evens. BTTS @ 1.62 (Bet Fred) combined with Celtic WIN @1.25 gives us 2.02 for the double


Hibs v Motherwell


Injuries - Clancy

Probable XI - Williams, Maybury, McPake, McGivern, Stevenson, Claros, Deegan, Wotherspoon, Cairney, Doyle, Griffiths (4-4-2)


Injuries - Saunders

Probable XI - Randolph, Hateley, Cummins, Hutchison, Hammell, Murphy, Lasley, Law, Humphrey, Higdon, Ojamaa (4-4-2)

Prediction :  Hibs 1-2 Motherwell

Hibs should see the return to action of influencial midfield battler Deegan this week and he will make a big difference as they have started to falter a little lately with 3 losses in their last 4 league matches. I've got to admit though this doesn't come as a surprise as Hibs are famous for having flying starts to seasons and then plummeting back down the league at around christmas time! I'm not convinced who will actually win this match but I reckon we will at the least see a goal from each side so I'll have a pop at BTTS @ 1.73 (Stan James)


Ross County v Dundee

Ross County

Injuries - Duncan, Corcoran, Morrow, Scott

Probable XI - Brown, Kovacevic, Munro, Boyd, Fitzpatrick, Kettlewell, Brittain, Fotheringham, Quinn, Vigurs, McMenamin (4-4-1-1)


Injuries - Finnigan, O'Donnell, Kerr, Easton, McCluskey, Grassi

Probable XI - Douglas, Irvine, Benedictus, Gallagher, Lookwood, Riely, Davidson, McBride, McAllister, Milne, Baird (4-4-2)

Prediction : Ross County 2-1 Dundee

Dundee are well worthy of their bottom place in the league and I don't see them improving on it this week. County are on the back of 2 away defeats in the league and cup and will be hoping for an improved result in Dingwall. With Quinn and Fotheringham back in their team on a regular basis now this will improve them. HOME WIN @ 2.0 (William Hill) seems decent.


St Johnstone v Hearts

St Johnstone

Injuries - none
Suspended - Anderson, Wright, Mackay, Millar

Probable XI - Manus, Miller, Scobbie, McCracken C.Davidson, Cregg, M.Davidson, Vine, Pawlett, MacLean, Tade (4-4-2)


Injuries - Taouil, Grainger, Holt, Hamill

Probable XI - McDonald, McGowan, Zaliukas, Webster, McHattie, Taouil, Barr, Stevenson, Driver, Sutton, Smith (4-4-2)

Prediction :  St Jonstone 1-2 Hearts

St Johnstone are set to be understrength with 4 suspensions following their 2 redcards last week against St Mirren. It will be a big problem for them in defence where they are basically missing 3 regulars and added to that the manager has to make a late call on McCracken as cover but he is still suffering from a fractured checkbone. Hearts will be looking to record only their 2nd away win all season but will fancy it with manager McGlynn getting all adventurous last week and actually playing 2 recognised strikers for the first time ever. Lets be positive here and with the defensive worries St Johnstone have lets back a Hearts win but with the safety of a draw no bet. HEARTS DNB @ 2.0 (Ladbrokes)


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Dundee Derby - A couple of tips

Dundee v Dundee Utd
Dens Park 12.45 KO (Sky Sports 4)

Starting XI's :

Dundee : Douglas, Irvine, Benedictus, Gallagher, Lookwood, McAllister, Davidson, McBride, Riley, Baird, Milne (4-4-2)

Dundee Utd :  Cierznaik, Douglas, Gunning, McLean, Watson, Skacel, Food, Rankin, Armstrong, Daly, Russell (4-4-2)

Its the second Dundee derby of the season today and by all accounts it's pretty much as sell out and promises to be a lively affair at Dens Park. There is no doubt that the tangerine half of Dundee have the better players and team by far and this is not helped by the injury list that Dundee can really not afford to have given their inferior 1st division squad. Dundee Utd won the home fixture earlier in the season very comfortably 3-0 and are rightly the 1.8 (Coral, Betfred) favourites. They had a 5-0 cup win last week against Stranraer but what will be worrying for Dundee is that both of Utd's front men claimed all 5 goals with Johnny Russell netting a hatrick and Daly with a brace himself.  Dundee also claimed a decent cup win away to Livingston and will take heart from the fact they have won their last 2 home league games against Hibs and Hearts. Despite being bottom of the league the Dundee fans will hope their team can pull off a 5.0 (William Hill) shock.

Dundee Utd will again be without the services of the talented Gary Mackay-Stevens with a broken bone in the hand and Gardyne is also set to miss out but this just means that manager Houston will have the opportunity to play Rudi Skacel from the start. People who like a bet on an anytime goalscorer should have a look at Skacel at 3.25 (Blue Square) as he has a canny nack of scoring in the big matches.

Dundee's injuries are to vast to list but noticable outs are captain O'Donnell, Striker Finnigan and Italian defender Grassi.

For me Dundee United should have far too much quality for Dundee in this fixture and if they concentrate on playing football and avoid getting involved in any heated derby incidents they should really run out easy winners and probably win by a couple of goals. They have goals scorers in their team and I like the look of them scoring over 1.5 team goals at 2.1 (Stan James).

Prediction : Dundee 1-3 Dundee Utd

Best Bets :

Away win 1.8 (Coral, Betfred)
Dundee Utd to score over 1.5 goals 2.1 (Stan James)

Friday, 7 December 2012

SPL - Saturday 8th Dec Team News & Thoughts

Kilmarnock v Celtic


Injuries - Kelly, Hay
Suspended - Pascali

Probable XI - Bell, Fowler, O'Leary, Nelson, Tesselaar, Racchi, Borja, Johnson, Harkins, Sheridan, Heffernan (4-4-2)


Injuries - Commons, Lustig, Stokes, Paddy McCourt, Forrest

Probable XI - Zaluska, Matthews, Ambrose, Wilson, Mulgrew, Ledley, Kayal, Samaras, Wanyama, Hooper, Miku (4-4-2)

Prediction : Kilmarnock 1 - 2 Celtic

Once more Celtic go into another match after midweek heroics in the Champions League. Tiredness must again be a big concern here, they will have a fresh Wanyama but unless they look to their squad players there will be a few playing with heavy legs from the start.  I also have a sneaky feeling that Forster may be rested for reserve keeper Zaluska as he was a slight doubt before the Spartak game. I've had a good look into Kilmarnock's stats and added to the fact that they have had recent success against Celtic I note that they have only failed to score in 2 games this season (both 0-0 draws) and have only not scored in 1 game at home which was the season opener. So I'm looking at BTTS @ 2.0 (Boyle Sports) as certainly worth a punt.


Hearts v Aberdeen


Injuries - Holt , McGowan, Grainger,Hamill
Doubtful - Barr, Novikovas

Probable XI - McDonald, McGowgan, Zaliukas, Webster, McHattie, Taouil, Walker, Robinson, Stevenson, Paterson, Sutton (4-4-2)


Injuries - Fraser, Naysmith, Hughes, Jack, Milsom, Clark, Robertson, Osbourne

Probable XI - Langfield, Considine, Anderson, Reynolds, Rae, Hayes, Shaughnessy, Magennis, McGinn, Fallon, Venon (3-4-1-2)

Prediction : Hearts 1-0 Aberdeen

Hearts enjoy a great record in this fixture and in fact against Aberdeen in general over the last couple of years. So good that the Jambos are unbeaten in the last 8 games (5W 3D)  and Aberdeen amazingly haven't even scoring a goal!!! With that stat and the fact that Hearts are currently unexplainably playing without a striker every week and I can see why the under 2.5 goals price is so low. I would suggest it will come in and I will be looking to hammer it if there did happen to be an early goal as I would still be confident there would not be 3 scored. I'm having a tiny punt on under 1.5 goals @ 3.2 (Paddy Power) as crazy as it sounds, it should certainly be tradable.

Inverness v Hibs


Injuries - Ross, King, Hogg

Probable XI - Reguero, Raven, Warren, Meekings, G. Shinnie, A. Shinnie, Draper, Tudur-Jones, Doran, Foran, McKay (4-4-1-1)


Injuries - Deegan, McPake, Clancy
Doubtful - Griffiths

Probable XI - Williams, Maybury, Hanlon, McGivern, Stevenson, Wotherspoon, Tiawo, Claros, Cairney, Doyle, Caldwell (4-4-2)

Prediction : Inverness 2-1 Hibs

These 2 teams are the surprise package of the SPL in my book this season and have both had absolute turnabouts in terms of team members and performance since last term. I've seen a lot of Inverness this season and I have to say they really impress me. They are all playing for each other, have goals throughout their attacking players and are a big and physical side. Only downfall for them is they do concede a lot of silly goals, especially when in seemingly commanding positions in matches. Indeed they are the league joint worst in defence.

Big question here is will Griffiths play? I suspect Hibs will be a completely different outfit without him, lacking any real threat up front as I dont rate Doyle and Caldwell, who would replace Griffiths, is shit.

This game could end up in a slugfest but I'm going to side with Inverness and hope Griffiths is missing. Home Win @ 2.3 (William Hill)


Motherwell v Ross County


Injuries - Saunders
Suspended - Randolph

Probable XI - Hollis, Hateley, Hutchison, Cummins, Hammell, Humphrey, Lasley, Law, Murphy, Higdon, Ojamaa (4-4-2)

Ross County

Injuries - Duncan, Corcoran
Doubtful - Boyd, Kettlewell

Probable XI - Brown, Kovacevic, Tokeley, Munro, Fitzpatrick, Brittian, Vigurs, Quinn, Fotheringham, Morrow, Glen (4-4-2)

Prediction : Motherwell 2-1 Ross County

Motherwell have finally started to pull a bit of form together and have gone 5 unbeaten in all competitions. And thank god as there really was no explaination for their performances at the start of the season. I say all this and they are actually only 4pts from 1st place.  I think it's all down to confidence as they generally field the same team each week and certainly the same tried and tested formation. They should prove to much for Ross County who have not won in their last 6 games away from Dingwall. HOME WIN @ 2.2 (Stan James) looks a steel(men).......lol

St Mirren v St Johnstone

St Mirren

Injuries - McGowan, McGregor

Probable XI - Samson, Van Zanten, Mair, McAusland, Dummett, McLean, Reilly, Goodwin, Imrie, Guy, Thompson (4-4-2)

St Johnstone

Injuries - McCracken, Beattie, Adams, Robertson
Suspended - Mackay

Probable XI - Mannus, C.Davidson, Wright, Anderson, Miller, Millar, M.Davidson, Craig, Cregg, Tade, MacLean (4-4-2)

Prediction : St Mirren 1-2 St Johnstone

I'm not going to be fooled by St Mirren's latest change in fortune, the fact that they have won 2 and drawn 1 of their last 3 matches, simply because they were against poor teams, namely, Brechin, Ross County and Dundee. I still think St Mirren are not very good. St Johnstone should be able to welcome Cregg back into the team, a player I like and makes them tick. They do have Mackay suspended but they regularly chop and change in defence so that is not such a big worry to me. Only thing that worries me is that 3 out 4 St Mirren wins this season have come at home so I'll opt for the saftey of St Johnstone DNB @ 1.87 (Boyle Sports)