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Scottish Premiership Preview: Celtic out to end great year on a high

Celtic have been in remarkable winning form as they look to finish a positive 2022 with victory at Hibernian on Wednesday night.

Rivals Rangers find themselves playing catch up and new boss Michael Beale’s side are also in action when they play hosts to Motherwell.

Hoops can continue title march

What: Hibernian v Celtic
Where: Easter Road, Edinburgh
When: 20:00, Wednesday 28th December
How to watch: Sky Sports Football
Odds: Hibernian 6/1, Draw 4/1, Celtic 2/5

With an 11-game winning streak behind them, confidence won’t be an issue when Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic head to Hibernian this week.

The Hoops have a nine-point gap between them and Rangers going into Wednesday’s fixtures, as Celtic have continued to find ways to win games despite not always being at their best.

Postecoglou oversaw a much better performance last time out against St Johnstone, as the reigning champions cruised to a 4-1 victory.

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The Australian tactician was able to make a host of changes to key players in the final 30 minutes against Saints and they should be fresh for this midweek encounter.

Jota and Liel Abada are both pushing for a return but the pair might have to settle for a place on the bench as Postecoglou is unlikely to make too many changes for the trip to Edinburgh.

As for Hibs, they managed to halt a four-game losing streak in the Premiership with a 4-0 victory over Livingston on Christmas Eve.

Boss Lee Johnson was also able to rest players in the latter stages of that game and is set to go with the same XI that took down Livi in such convincing fashion at Easter Road.

Two of the last three meetings between Hibs and Celtic have ended in both teams scoring and it would be no surprise to see both sides get on the scoresheet on Wednesday.

Despite Celtic’s winning run, they have only managed one clean sheet in their last six games. Considering those defensive shortcomings at times, a Hoops win and both teams to score is available at 7/4.

Gers doing it the hard way

What: Rangers v Motherwell
Where: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
When: 19:45, Wednesday 28th December
Odds: Rangers 2/9, Draw 11/2, Motherwell 12/1

With such a gap between themselves and old rivals Celtic, Rangers can’t afford any slip-ups ahead of the Old Firm derby at Ibrox on 2nd January.

Rangers have won all three of their Premiership games under new boss Beale but were made to work hard for the victories against Hibernian, Aberdeen and Ross County.

Former Queens Park Rangers boss Beale will be hoping for a much more accomplished performance when his side welcome Motherwell to Ibrox this week.

With just two wins in their last 13 Premiership outings, Motherwell boss Steven Hammell is struggling to turn things around at Fir Park.

It won’t get any easier against Rangers, who are 8/11 to be leading at half-time and full-time on Wednesday night.

Dons can get back to winning ways

What: Kilmarnock v Aberdeen
Where: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
When: 19:45, Wednesday 28th December
How to watch: Killie TV
Odds: Kilmarnock 2/1, Draw 5/2, Aberdeen 13/10

Three defeats on the bounce has been a sorry return for Aberdeen in December but the Dons will be hoping to end the year on a high against a struggling Kilmarnock side.

While defeats to Celtic and Rangers were to be expected, a 3-1 loss at St Mirren last time out was a nasty shock for Jim Goodwin and his players.

Aberdeen will be desperate to end their losing streak and they might well be able to do it against a Kilmarnock side that have only won once in their last six league outings.

With 32 goals conceded in their 18 games so far, only rock-bottom Dundee United have let in more this season.

Goals at the other end have also been an issue for Killie, with just 15 goals scored this term in the Premiership.

Aberdeen have not been in form but look well priced at 13/10 to get back to winning ways at Rugby Park.

Hearts and Saints battling for third

What: St Johnstone v Hearts
Where: McDiarmid Park, Perth
When: 19:45, Wednesday 28th December
Odds: St Johnstone 2/1, Draw 12/5, Hearts 13/10

It looks set to be a tight battle for third place in the Premiership this season and St Johnstone and Hearts are two of the teams in the mix.

Just one point separates fourth-placed Hearts from St Johnstone tucked in behind them in fifth in the league table.

It should make for another thrilling encounter between these two sides, following a 3-2 win for Hearts against Saints at Tynecastle in August.

McDiarmid Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Hearts over the years, having failed to win in Perth in any of their last 15 visits in all competitions.

One has to go all the way back to November 2010 for the last time Hearts managed to win a league game at St Johnstone, with Kevin Kyle and Ryan Stevenson getting the goals in a 2-0 win.

With that in mind, the Saints are at an attractive price of 2/1 to claim all three points on Wednesday night and continue to make Hearts wait for a win at McDiarmid Park.

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