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Scottish Premiership: What can be decided this weekend?

Celtic hold a six-point lead going into the final three matches of the Scottish Premiership season.

Ange Postecoglou’s side are unbeaten in 29 league games (W24 D5), so it’s a question of when, not if…

The champagne is already on ice after a 1-1 draw in the final Old Firm derby and the party could get started this weekend.

Let’s take a look at what’s on the line going into the latest round of top-flight fixtures, with St Johnstone and Dundee in big trouble at the bottom.

Celtic with one hand on the trophy

Celtic also enjoy a far superior goal difference, a massive 19 more than nearest challengers Rangers.

Victory over Hearts on Saturday lunchtime would extend their lead to nine points, leaving the Ibrox side in need of a miraculous set of results.

Rangers host Dundee United on Sunday and must match what their Glasgow rivals do to keep the contest going officially.

Hearts have enjoyed a fantastic return to the Premiership and are unbeaten in 10 games across all competitions, with a Scottish Cup final to look forward to. They beat Celtic in Edinburgh on day one of the league campaign and gave them a second-half scare at Tynecastle in January when Liam Boyce hit the post with a penalty in a 2-1 loss.

However, it’s usually a different story across the M8, with Celtic winning 19 of their past 20 home league matches against Hearts.

Advantage United in Conference League chase

Dundee United lead the way in a tight, three-way battle for two Europa Conference League qualifying spots.

If Tam Court’s men can spring a surprise win at Ibrox and Ross County beat Motherwell in Dingwall, then the folks at Tannadice can start making sure everyone has an up to date passport.

United are the only team other than Celtic to get the better of Rangers this season, but have not been successful at Ibrox in the top flight since 2011.

If County can manage a third successive league victory over Motherwell for the first time, they could very well close the three-point gap on United, with those two meeting in the Highlands on the final day.

And County will fancy their chances of scoring on Saturday since the Steelmen are without a clean sheet in their past 13 league matches.

If Motherwell can add to their solitary Premiership victory of 2022 and United lose, then one point will cover the trio.

Outlook gloomy for bottom two

Bottom club Dundee are running out of must-win games. Speaking after last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Pittodrie, manager Mark McGhee reckoned if the Dark Blues took maximum points from their final three fixtures they’d leapfrog St Johnstone into the play-off position.

How likely is that given Dundee have only won five games all season and they all arrived before McGhee did in mid-February?

Eleventh is the best Dundee can do and a drop straight back into the Championship will be confirmed if they lose at St Mirren and the Perth Saints win at Livingston.

Dundee were victorious on their last trip to Paisley in October, making it four wins from their past six Premiership visits, but the Buddies still need something to make sure they are absolutely safe and will be buoyed after halting a four-game losing streak at McDiarmid Park last time.

That was a game many pundits were tipping St Johnstone to prevail in, but Callum Davidson’s side were abject in a 1-0 defeat.

Livi have beaten Aberdeen and Hibs since the split, but have lost their past three home encounters with Saints in all competitions.

St Johnstone just don’t score enough – 22 goals from 35 games, although they somehow finished eighth in 2011 with just 23.

If Davidson’s side can somehow muster maximum points from their last three outings, there’s an outside chance of reeling in St Mirren or Aberdeen, but that all falls apart if those two follow up last weekend’s victories on Saturday.

Underachievers meet at Easter Road

Aberdeen visit Hibernian, with both sets of supporters in a hurry to see the back of this season.

Hibs are the only team in the division yet to reach double figures for goals in 2022. The managerless hosts have won two of their past 15 Scottish Premiership matches (D6 L7), scoring just eight times.

Aberdeen match that miserable W-D-L record over the same period but their two wins have come in the past five games, whereas it’s two in 10 for Hibs.

The Dons certainly used to have the measure of Hibs in Edinburgh, losing just three times in 23 visits up until 2019-20, but the hosts have won three of the past four between these two at Easter Road.

A point would realistically ensure safety for Aberdeen given the 20-goal advantage they have on St Johnstone, who they meet in Perth next.

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