Home Sports Football Scottish Premier League Big test for Lennon’s theory
Big test for Lennon’s theory

Big test for Lennon’s theory


Hibernian boss Neil Lennon says his side are in the mix to finish as runners-up in the Scottish Premiership this season and his theory will come under immediate scrutiny this weekend.

The Hibees go to Kilmarnock for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, with Steve Clarke having vastly improved Killie’s lot since a 3-0 win for the away side at this venue in October.

This is a meeting between two of the form sides in Scotland, with both Hibs and Killie coming into the game having won four of their last six in the league.

That run is enough to have closed the Edinburgh side to within five points of Aberdeen and Rangers, currently third and second in the standings, with 11 games to go.

Lennon suggested this week that Hibs are ‘in the mix’ to finish second and if he is to be proved right, they’ll likely need to justify 1/1 favouritism for this trip to Ayrshire.

The Hibs boss readily admits they were flattered to win 3-0 earlier in the season, with a 1-1 draw at Easter Road in December perhaps more reflective.

There is a big carrot dangling for Hibs after last week’s win over Aberdeen. Win here and they’ll be just two points behind Rangers and the Dons. The Gers face a tough exam when Hearts come to Ibrox later on Saturday, while Aberdeen welcome table-toppers Celtic to Pittodrie on Sunday.

Victory for Hibs, coupled with some help from elsewhere, could see Lennon’s theory gaining some real traction this weekend. He’ll have his men fired up for this and they are a backable price at 33/4 for a 2-1 win.

Sunday’s clash between Aberdeen and Celtic really looks a case of now or never for Derek McInnes and his Dons.

They’ve consistently been the second best team in Scotland over recent seasons but are aiming to avoid a tenth successive defeat to Celtic. They simply have got to end that run, with similarly poor results against Rangers this term jeopardising their hopes of taking second spot.

On the face of it, there may never be a better chance for Aberdeen. Celtic are returning from a dismal trek to Russia on Thursday where they exited the Europa League in feeble fashion against Zenit St Petersburg.

They’ve not exactly been scaling any heights domestically of late, with a 3-2 Scottish Cup success against Partick Thistle their only win in three domestic games this month.

The travel demands this week, coupled with the bitter disappointment of their performance against Zenit, surely leave Celtic open to attack in Aberdeen. Brendan Rodgers faces a big task in lifting his squad for what ought to be a raucous atmosphere at Pittodrie.

Despite all that, Aberdeen’s woeful record in this fixture is hard to ignore. They can make inroads, but may be settling for just one point, with the draw favoured at 27/10.

Hearts don’t tend to do well at Ibrox – just two wins in 23 visits to the Govan venue – but Craig Levein’s men are in decent form with one defeat from 14 in the league.

A scoreless draw was the outcome when these sides met last in Glasgow back in August, though that ran against the grain of their 2017 clashes. Both teams scored in all three outside of that meeting, with 12 goals scored in the three games.

Rangers were involved in an eight-goal ding-dong at Hamilton last weekend and, at odds of 4/5, over 2.5 goals is the suggestions for this game.

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Enda McElhinney Our racing expert, Enda studies cards in both England and Ireland on a daily basis and knows all the details you need to know when trying to select a winner. He is also a regular football writer and has strong knowledge of the Scottish game, with golf another specialised sport on his CV.