Ian Crocker and Andy Walker's Scottish Premiership Predictor
Last Updated: 29/12/17 2:33pm
Sky Sports Scotland look ahead to the weekend's Premiership action with Ian Crocker and Andy Walker...
This weekend sees the final round of Premiership fixtures before the winter break with a host of mouthwatering games to end the year on a high.
First up from 11.30am on Sky Sports Football, Brendan Rodgers' Celtic host Rangers in the second Old Firm clash of the season.
In the 3pm kick-offs, a number of teams will be looking to gain vital ground in the table ahead of the two week lay-off.
Derek McInnes will be keen to keep his Aberdeen side ahead of Rangers in second place with a win against Hearts at Pittodrie.
Kilmarnock are hoping to end 2017 in the top six but face a trip to Hibernian, who themselves are trying to close the gap to Rangers in third.
The Lanarkshire derby always tends to entertain and Hamilton Accies can cut the gap to their local rivals Motherwell down to just one point if they can come away with the three points.
The Premiership's bottom two also come together to Saturday with Partick Thistle hosting Ross County. Both clubs are level on 17 points but County have a better goal difference.
St Johnstone are clinging on to a top-six place to end 2017 but face competition from Kilmarnock and Motherwell. But Tommy Wright's men can secure their spot with a win against Dundee.
Celtic v Rangers - Live on Sky Sports Football Saturday 12.00pm
Celtic 3-0 Rangers
Key Player- Moussa Dembele
Despite the form of Leigh Griffiths, Brendan Rodgers will always prefer his number one striker for the big games.
Celtic 3-1 Rangers
Key Player- Moussa Dembele
With five Old Firm goals to his name he will surely have a say somewhere along the way.
Celtic haven't lost to old rivals Rangers in the league since March 2012 (3-2), winning five of the six such meetings since (D1) and scoring 18 goals in those encounters.
Indeed, you have to go back to October 2010 to find the last time Rangers won at Celtic Park in the Scottish Premiership, losing four of their five visits since (D1) whilst scoring just two goals in total.
Since losing their 56-game unbeaten run in the top-flight at Hearts, Celtic have won three consecutive games without conceding a single goal. They are yet to win four consecutive Scottish Premiership fixtures this season, and haven't won four in a row in the division without letting in a goal since November 2016 (a run of six games).
Rangers have scored more goals away from home than any other Scottish Premiership side this season (23).
Leigh Griffiths has scored a goal in each of his last two league games against Rangers, including in the Hoops' 2-0 win earlier this season.
Aberdeen v Hearts - Saturday 3pm
Aberdeen 2-1 Hearts
Key Player- Adam Rooney
I expect a better second half to the season for Rooney now that Niall McGinn has re-signed.
Aberdeen 1-0 Hearts
Key Player- Scott McKenna
Has caught the eye at the back and likely to be kept busy by Lafferty and Goncalves.
The Dons avoided defeat in each of the four league meetings between these sides last season (W3 D1) and drew the first clash this season 0-0, meaning this is currently their longest ever unbeaten run against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership (five games).
Hearts' 2-0 loss in their last visit to Pittodrie in the league was just the second time they had conceded more than once there in 20 visits; they last conceded 2+ goals in consecutive games away to Aberdeen in the top-flight in April 2002.
Aberdeen have won back-to-back home league games for the second time this season; they are yet to win three in a row in 2017/18.
Hearts are currently enjoying an eight-match unbeaten run in the Scottish Premiership (W3 D5), although only one of those has come away from home (0-0 at St. Johnstone). They last went longer without defeat in the top-flight in January 2011 (11 games).
Hibernian v Kilmarnock - Saturday 3pm
Hibernian 1-0 Kilmarnock
Key Player- John McGinn
Will he still be a Hibs player come February?
Hibernian 2-1 Kilmarnock
Key Player- Oli Shaw
His effort against Hearts looked over the line in real time from the TV gantry but we had a better view from there!
Hibs have lost just one of their last nine top-flight meetings with Kilmarnock (W5 D3), scoring 17 whilst conceding only eight times in those games combined.
Killie's 1-0 win at Easter Road in April means they now have the chance to win back-to-back Scottish Premiership visits there for the first time. They have lost their next trip after each of their last four wins there.
Both teams have found the net in Hibernian's last five league games at Easter Road (W2 D1 L2), with Hibs both scoring and conceding exactly eight goals in those fixtures.
Kris Boyd has scored five goals in five league games this December, more than any other player in the Scottish Premiership; he had scored just three times in the Scottish Premiership this season prior to this month.
Motherwell v Hamilton Accies - Saturday 3pm
Motherwell 3-2 Hamilton Accies
Key Player- Ryan Bowman
Can he be as effective for Motherwell as Louis Moult was?
Motherwell 2-0 Hamilton Accies
Key Player- Craig Tanner
High energy performer could make the difference on derby day in Lanarkshire.
Motherwell last lost to Hamilton in the league back in September 2015, winning four and drawing three of the seven meetings since then.
Since a 4-0 win at Fir Park in September 2014, Hamilton have conceded 11 goals in their last four visits in the Scottish Premiership (D2 L2), although the last game was a goalless draw.
Motherwell have gone seven games without a win in the top-flight (D2 L5) for the first time since a run of eight games in February 2015.
Only Dundee have won (seven) and scored (five) more penalties than Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership this season (won five, scored four).
Louis Moult has scored five goals in two home league games for Motherwell against Hamilton, including seven against them in the competition overall; two more than against any other opponent.
Partick Thistle v Ross County - Saturday 3pm
Partick Thistle 1-1 Ross County
Key Player- Andrew Davies
County need leadership at this difficult time.
Partick Thistle 1-2 Ross County
Key Player- Craig Curran
Three goals in the last five games could spark an overdue Staggies win?
Partick have avoided defeat in each of their last four league meetings with Ross County despite failing to keep a clean sheet in any of those games (W2 D2).
The Staggies have never earned a shutout away from home to Partick Thistle in the Scottish Premiership, conceding 14 goals in those seven trips.
Blair Spittal has had a direct hand in 41% of Partick's 17 league goals this season (four goals, three assists), the highest proportion of any player in the competition.
Ross County are currently enduring a run of eight top-flight games without victory (D3 L5), their longest run since going 10 without a win in November 2016.
Kris Doolan has netted three goals in his last three league games against Ross County having not scored in his previous ten.
St Johnstone v Dundee - Saturday 3pm
St Johnstone 1-2 Dundee
Key Player- Faissal El Bakhtaoui
Needs to score more regularly to ease pressure on an impressive Dundee side.
St Johnstone 1-2 Dundee
Key Player- Jack Hendry
Little wonder Celtic and others have been watching him.
The Saints have lost four of their last seven league games against Dundee (W2 D1); they had lost only one of the previous seven prior to this.
However, the Dee haven't beaten St. Johnstone away from home in the top-flight since September 2014, losing three of their four such visits since (D1).
Only Hamilton Academical and Ross County (two) have won fewer Scottish Premiership games at home this season than St. Johnstone (three); indeed, the Saints haven't won a league game on home soil since September (P6 W0 D2 L4 since).
Dundee remain the only side in the Scottish Premiership yet to gain a single point from a losing position this season, losing all 12 games in which they have fallen behind.