By Stefan Bienkowski

Match day 26 of the Scottish Premiership is upon us and as such it’s time to dive in to the weekend’s action with a betting slip in hand and one of those fidgety little IKEA pens in the other. 

 

However, before you start marking your proposed winners and losers why not take a minute to mull over each game and in particular take a note of what the data suggests.

 

It may just mean the difference between missing out on one team and spending your night  cursing in to your pint and a trip to Barcelona with the family.


 


 

Kilmarnock v Celtic

xG prediction: 1-3 – Away win

 

Steve Clarke may be flavour of the, eh, season in the Premiership but 2018 hasn’t exactly kicked off with a bang for the Rugby Park side. A draw away to Easter Road was followed by a heavy defeat to Aberdeen in Pittodrie, leaving Kilmarnock slumped in seventh place.

 

 

Indeed, what’s even more troubling is that Killie’s home form was far from exemplary before the turn of the year. Over the past 10 home games Clarke’s side have picked up just 11 points and sit ninth in the table when we rank each team by points won. Against a Celtic side that look as though they’re getting back in to the swing of things there really ought to be only one outcome.

 

Writer’s prediction: Away win  


Aberdeen v Hamilton

xG: 2-1 – Home win

 

Derek McInnes’ side have made a reasonable effort of getting back on track after the defeat to Rangers a few weeks ago. A 3-1 win over Kilmarnock and a 4-2 victory against Ross County should put them in good stead to make the most of a troubled Hamilton’s trip to Pittodrie.

 

 

Indeed, the Dons haven’t lost a home game to Hamilton since May 2010 and still boast a home record in the Premiership this season that is only bested by Celtic’s own form at Parkhead. Martin Canning’s side may yet recompose themselves but this game looks too much too soon for them.

 

Writer’s prediction: Home win


Dundee v Ross County

xG prediction: 1-1 – Draw

 

Despite a decent upswing in form for the Dens Park side of late, the loss of Scott Allan will undoubtedly have a huge impact on how Dundee perform not only against Ross County this weekend but for the remainder of the season.

 

 

When it came to expected assists (xA) the on-loan Celtic player led the way for Neil McCann’s side, with Jon Aurtenetxe bizarrely second in the rankings. Although Dundee do have other creative players, they’ll surely lack the midfielder’s ability to create goals. Fortunately, Ross County have only picked up zero points from their last five away games in the league and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon.    

 

Writer’s prediction: Draw


Hearts v St Johnstone

xG prediction: 1-1 – Draw

 

Hearts have built their form off of impressive home displays this season, with Craig Levein’s side picking up 11 points in their last five games at Tynecastle and just two defeats in their last 10 at the Edinburgh ground.

 

 

However, on Saturday they face a St Johnstone side that have picked up 10 points from their last five games on the road and in spite of some dreadful home form Tommy Wright’s side have shown some real grit and determination on their travels. Shared points between these two sides seems like the most likely outcome.

 

Writer’s prediction: Draw


Motherwell v Partick Thistle

xG prediction: 2-1 – Home win

 

Despite kicking off 2018 with a defeat to Celtic, Partick Thistle have looked far better in the past month than they did in the first half of the season – as shown by the 3-1 win at McDiarmid Park last weekend.

 

 

However, Alan Archibald will be well aware of the fact that such a result was their first win on the road this season and when they travel to Fir Park on Saturday they’ll most likely see a return to the mean. Motherwell will fancy their chances of all three points and they’re most likely going to get them.

 

Writer’s prediction: Home win


Rangers v Hibernian

xG prediction: 2-1 – Home win

 

With 12 points in their last five home games, Rangers have undoubtedly improved in front of their own fans and Graeme Murty will be hopeful of adding to that impressive run with a win over Hibernian.

 

 

Although Neil Lennon’s side do tend to raise their game in the bigger matches, we’ve seen the Easter Road side struggle with consistency on the road laterly with just eight points from their last five away games. The Ibrox side are favourites for this tie.

 

Writer’s prediction: Home win


 

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