Scottish Premiership picks: Hearts slump, Motherwell resurgence, Daniel Armstrong a key man
The big two will hog the headlines as Celtic and Rangers prepare for a Saturday lunchtime showdown.
However, there are lots of other interesting plot lines in the Scottish Premiership as teams jostle for places before the split and the bottom three scrap for survival.
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Game of weekend – Hearts v St Mirren
When Hearts were celebrating Stephen Humphrys’ outrageous long-range goal at home to Dundee United in early February, the league campaign was 25 games in and third place looked sewn up.
The Edinburgh side were seven points clear of the chasing pack, with Aberdeen a distant seventh.
Now the Dons are breathing down their necks and could leapfrog them unless St Mirren are beaten at Tynecastle.
Four defeats in the last five Premiership games have left pundits puzzled and fans fuming.
“We’re not winning our individual battles, simple as that,” was the blunt assessment from Hearts midfielder Robert Snodgrass.
Expect plenty of battles when St Mirren come visiting, with the Paisley side fresh from a convincing win over Livingston and determined to hold on to a place in the top end of the table. The clubs met back-to-back in January, with no quarter given, as the men in maroon dug in for a 1-0 home win after a 1-1 draw on the road.
Stephen Robinson’s side go to Ibrox next, so may well view this as a game where they need to pick up something.
Hearts have not won away in the league in 2023, but home form remains a source of comfort, while St Mirren last enjoyed victory in this corner of the capital in 2013.
Player to watch – Daniel Armstrong (Kilmarnock)
Daniel Armstrong has scored more goals (seven) and registered more assists (five) than any other Kilmarnock player in the Scottish Premiership this term.
However only one of those goal involvements has been away from home, an assist against Hearts in December.
Can the 25-year-old winger help finally end Killie’s winless drought on the road at Pittodrie?
Aberdeen have won four in a row to surge up the table and have only lost one of their last 15 home league games against Kilmarnock.
If Derek McInnes is to upset his former team, as he did at Rugby Park in late December, then the lively Armstrong is likely to be at the fore.
Manager in spotlight – Stuart Kettlewell (Motherwell)
The Steelmen have been transformed since Stuart Kettlewell took over from Stevie Hammell in mid-February.
Four wins and a draw from six outings have erased fears of relegation.
With a visit to Celtic to come immediately before the split, a late dash for the top six is highly unlikely but in-form Motherwell can do some damage along the way.
Livingston meet three teams below them as they look to land in the upper half of the division. On paper, they have the easiest run-in of the teams from fifth to seventh.
However, Motherwell are unbeaten in eight against the West Lothian side and will fancy their chances of extending that sequence having been completely re-energised by Kettlewell.