Dons can set up Pittodrie showdown

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 27: Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is seen during the William Hill Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on May 27, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Aberdeen are in the Scottish capital on Saturday to face Hibs at Easter Road seeking three points that will, in all probability, set up a humdinger with Celtic at Pittodrie under the lights in just over a week.

The Dons have matched the champions to date, each recording six wins and two draws from eight Premiership outings.

Victory over Hibernian then will set up an explosive tussle between the two best teams in Scotland, with Celtic firmly expected to account for Dundee in Glasgow on Saturday.

Given the long unblemished record of Brendan Rodgers’ side, the prospect of a showdown with Aberdeen makes considerable appeal for both neutrals and fans of these clubs alike as it would prove the acid test domestically for Celtic.

Of course Aberdeen have a formidable task ahead before that, but they are fancied at 9/5 to take three points at Easter Road.

Derek McInnes’ side have won on their previous two trips to Leith, while they also got past Hibs in a Scottish Cup semi-final in April.

Aberdeen kept clean sheets in both away league games last month, something would put them well on their way to victory against a leaky Hibs defence.

Neil Lennon’s side delivered arguably their best effort of the season last time out in a 2-2 with Celtic at Parkhead, a game where the visitors earned most of the plaudits.

Their previous benchmark result, a 3-2 win over Rangers at Ibrox in August, was followed by a four-game winless sequence in the league.

Hibs have been the epitome of hot and cold so far this season, with just three wins on the board from eight in the league. Given Aberdeen’s motivation to set up a showdown again Celtic, the visitors are strongly fancied.

McDiarmid Park ought to provide a spicy encounter on Friday night when Rangers visit St Johnstone.

The rival managers have been exchanging hostilities in the press this week, Saints boss Tommy Wright accusing rival Pedro Caixinha of ‘paranoia’ and lacking respect for his team.

Their difference stems from Caixinha’s claim that his team was leaked from within when the clubs met last season, something Wright disputes.

Rangers travel to Perth with the sides level on 14 points in the Premiership after eight matches, the visitors ahead on goal difference alone, but the Light Blues have won six of their last seven away games in the league.

At 4/7, Rangers can pick up another three points on Friday but it likely won’t be straightforward and the clever play here is in backing both teams to score at 5/6.

The remaining value bet in Scotland’s top flight this weekend could be in following Motherwell in their trip to Hamilton.

The Steelmen have won in their previous two visits to New Douglas Park and, after a convincing 3-0 home win against Partick Thistle last time out, they now venture to face an Accies side that lost four on the spin and shipped a dozen goals in doing so.

At 27/20 to win, Motherwell are capable of obliging in this one.

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