The SPL Lowdown.. all the updates ahead of tonight’s games

Aberdeen V Hearts

  • Venue: Pittodrie
  • Date: Wednesday, 28 December
  • Kick-off: 1945 GMT

Fraser Fyvie could return for Aberdeen against Hearts at Pittodrie after being on the bench against Inverness.

Striker Mohamed Chalali is a doubt with an ankle injury while Peter Pawlett serves the second of a two-game ban.

Hearts defender Jamie Hamill is a major doubt with an ankle injury while Ryan Stevenson will be missing due to a self-imposed absence.

Eggert Jonsson is again likely to sit out after agreeing to move to Wolves in the January transfer window.

Aberdeen manager Craig Brown: “The fighting qualities are there, there is no doubt about that.

“We have come back from two goals down in some recent games and if the Inverness game had lasted longer we would at least have got a draw.”

Hearts midfielder Scott Robinson: “Going up to Aberdeen, to Pittodrie, it’s a hard place to go and they will be right up for it.

“They need every point they can get right now and it should be a good game.

“The more games I play, the more I enjoy it and the more I feel comfortable in the team.

“Every game I play I’m getting a bit more confidence.”

Aberdeen: (from) Brown, Jack, Megginson, Mawene, Considine, Foster, Clark, Milsom, Osbourne, Arnason, Magennis, Mackie, Vernon, Fallon, Gonzalez, Chalali, McArdle, Robertson, Fyvie.

Hearts: (from) Kello, Barr, Hamill, Webster, Zaliukas, Mrowiec, Driver, Taouil, Templeton, Robinson, Skacel, Novikovas, Elliott, MacDonald, Obua, MacDonald, McGowan, Black


Celtic V Rangers

  • Venue: Celtic Park
  • Date: Wednesday, 28 December
  • Kick-off: 1945 GMT

Celtic winger James Forrest has a tight hamstring and is a doubt for the Old Firm match.

Striker Georgios Samaras should shrug off a heavy cold while Anthony Stokes and full-back Adam Matthews have recovered from injury.

Defenders Daniel Majstorovic and Glenn Loovens are still out injured.

Rangers have Lee McCulloch available after appealing the red card suffered against St Mirren. Dorin Goian, sent off in the same match, is suspended.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: “Rangers are always dangerous opposition, regardless of the situation or the timing of the game.

“So I don’t think the mentality of either team will change going into the game. We know if we win we go top and our focus is on winning. If that’s the rewards then so be it.

“We want to make our home advantage count and keep the winning run going, it’s very important to the players.

“We are in a good vein of form but we are playing our biggest rivals and there is not much between the teams at the minute.

“Our form has been slightly better than Rangers’ but they are the champions and they won the last Old Firm game so I don’t think there is much in it.”

Rangers manager Ally McCoist: “As we all know, it’s a massive game. We are all looking forward to it and the Celtic boys will be too.

“All our boys are vitally important and we will have to play well to get anything tomorrow night, that’s for sure.

“It was a disappointing result against St Mirren but we are not pressing any panic buttons because, in our opinion, the sending-off totally and utterly changed the game.

“It’s really important we bounce back and there is no better place to do it.

“We will approach this game in a positive manner, we will always do that. We will see how our one or two injuries and suspensions are.

“I’ve got a team in my head at the moment and we will see how they all come through training.”

Celtic: (from) Forster, Cha, Matthews, Wanyama, Mulgrew, Ledley, Forrest, Kelvin Wilson, Brown, Kayal, Ki, Rogne, Samaras, Bangura, Hooper, Stokes, Zaluska, Izaguirre, McCourt, McGeouch.

Rangers: (from) McGregor, Whittaker, Papac, Bocanegra, Bartley, Wallace, Davis, McCulloch, Wylde, Edu, Lafferty, Aluko, Jelavic, Alexander, Broadfoot, Bendiksen, McCabe, Weir.


Hibernian V Inverness CT

  • Venue: Easter Road
  • Date: Wednesday, 28 December
  • Kick-off: 1945 GMT

Hibernian striker Garry O’Connor could return from a toe injury to face Inverness at Easter Road.

Midfielder Isaiah Osbourne remains out with an abductor injury.

Inverness will assess the calf injuries affecting Andrew Shinnie and Ross Tokely but they will not be risked as the team face St Johnstone on Monday.

Josh Meekings returns and Aaron Doran could come back from a shoulder injury, but Aidan Chippendale, David Proctor and Owain Tudur Jones remain out.

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon: “We need to be mentally tougher and stronger and stand up to things.

“It seems to prey on our mind a bit when we concede goals so that’s what we’re working on to change in training and with them individually. But we’ll turn it round.

“We can bring in one or two who can help us in that department – mentally tougher, stronger characters.

“A dressing room has to have a combination of all those things and we’ll need one or two that will come into that bracket for us, as well as being good players.”

Inverness CT manager Terry Butcher: “Having lost at home to Hibs in the second game of the season, we want to get revenge and go on a good run.

“We said last season little runs would be good. Three, four or five wins can pick you up the table.

“We have never had any spurts this season. We have been choked more than anything else.

“We said Christmas and New Year we were looking for maximum points and see where that takes us.

“Hibs have good players and are getting to know what their manager is all about.

“They are below us but it’s still a league where teams can get a run and get back up the table, but can easily be dragged back in.

“We’re looking to get away from Dunfermline and Hibs and looking to climb the league.”

Hibernian: (from) Stack, Hart, Towell, O’Hanlon, Hanlon, Sproule, Wotherspoon, Palsson, Scott, O’Connor, Sodje, Galbraith, Agogo, Brown, Stevenson, Stephens, Booth, Murray, Welsh.

Inverness CT: (from) Esson, Gillet, Tokely, Golobart, G Shinnie, Cox, Hayes, Davis, Tansey, A Shinnie, Tade, McKay, Sutherland, Tuffey, Piermayr, Ross, Morrison, Doran.


Motherwell V Dunfermline

  • Venue: Fir Park
  • Date: Wednesday, 28 December
  • Kick-off: 1945 GMT

Motherwell have an unchanged squad for the home match against Dunfermline.

Midfielder Steve Jennings will complete his two-match suspension while Steven Saunders is the only other player on the sidelines with a long-term injury.

Dunfermline are again without goalkeeper Paul Gallacher due to a shoulder injury.

Craig Easton and Kevin Rutkiewicz are unlikely to feature as they seek to improve their match fitness following injury.

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall: “I won’t name the side until before the kick-off.

“Normally I would have done it today but I’ll see what the conditions hold for us and the way to go about playing not only Dunfermline but the conditions.”

Dunfermline Athletic manager Jim McIntyre: “There is no doubt that, when you have not won for a while and you keep losing games the same way by making mistakes, it does dent confidence.

“It’s our job to lift them for the Motherwell game and that’s what we’ll do.

“But I reiterate, until we cut them out we are going to struggle to win games.”

Motherwell: (from) Randolph, Hateley, Hammell, Craigan, Hutchinson, Hughes, Lasley, Law, Daley, Murphy, Higdon, Humphrey, Forbes, Carswell, Page, McHugh, Clancy, Bradley.

Dunfermline: (from) Smith, J Thomson, Keddie, Dowie, Potter, Graham, R Thomson, Kirk, Boyle, Willis, Buchanan, Barrowman, Mason, Hardie, Byrne, Goodfellow, Burns, Cardle.


St Johnstone V Kilmarnock

  • Venue: McDiarmid Park
  • Date: Wednesday, 28 December
  • Kick-off: 1945 GMT

St Johnstone could have David Robertson available to face Kilmarnock after missing the win over Dunfermline with the effects of concussion.

Frazer Wright and Cillian Sheridan are still out and will not be fit until early in the new year.

Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels will choose from the same squad which lost to Celtic.

Danny Racchi is pushing for a start after his fine goal against the Hoops after coming on as a substitute.

St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas: “We have got to produce something.

“It’s going to be a tough game. Kenny has got them going well. We have got to be up for it and take the game to them.

“It might be the case that it’s a challenge in terms of the onus being on you to attack when you are the home team.

“But in the three recent games at home we made individual errors and gave cheap goals away.”

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels: “They are in fourth place and I’m not surprised.

“We know the qualities they have and we know how difficult it is going to be to get something out of the game.

“I hope it is a good game against St Johnstone. We will certainly be going there trying to win it and the confidence is good.”

St Johnstone: (from) Enckelman, Maybury, Mackay, C Davidson, Anderson, McCracken, Morris, M Davidson, Craig, Moon, Millar, Sandaza, Finnigan, Haber, Parkin, Durnan, McIntosh, Mannus.

Kilmarnock: (from) Bell, Fowler, Pascali, Sissoko, Hay, Kennedy, Shiels, Racchi, Kelly, McKeown, Buijs, Dayton, Heffernan, Harkins, Jaakkola, Kroca, Pursehouse, Fisher.