Andy Walker’s Scottish Premiership and Cup Semi Final predictions for this weekend has been revealed, and it’s got people talking on Twitter.
The Scottish former footballer played as a striker for several clubs in Scotland and England between 1984 and 2000, including Motherwell, Celtic, Newcastle, Bolton, Sheffield United, Hibernian, Raith, Ayr, Carlisle, Partick and Alloa.
He also made three full international appearances for Scotland. Since retiring as a player, Walker has become a TV pundit as well as a commentator, and now works for Sky Sports. See what he had to say in his latest set of predictions below…
Dundee Utd vs Ross County
It’s hardly a good news story for Dundee United when just weeks after the close of the transfer window, they are in discussions with all players about possible wage reductions. Will this prove to be a distraction, or bring the squad closer together?
Time will tell, but after successive clean sheets in their last two games against St Johnstone and Aberdeen, they have certainly tightened up at the back. All three strikers – Lawrence Shankland, Marc McNulty and Nicky Clark – started in Perth, and with good service, there’s a real goal threat for Micky Mellon’s men.
Ross County lost heavily last weekend, despite a very cautious line-up at Fir Park against Motherwell and will be keen to make amends. I expect Stephen Kelly and Billy McKay to feature from the start on Tayside.
Livingston vs Motherwell
It was no disgrace for Livingston to lose 2-0 last weekend at Ibrox against an in-form Rangers side and, at times, they looked as though they could have got into the game given they had decent chances to score. The former Celtic and Hibs defender Efe Ambrose was substituted at half-time in the game and Gary Holt will miss him if he doesn’t recover from injury.
Both Jason Holt and Scott Pittman are in good form and will be key men to try and unsettle a Motherwell defence who can call upon the international experience of both Stephen O’Donnell and Declan Gallagher. Striker Tony Watt won all the accolades last weekend for his excellent performance and it’s a chance for him to go on a run of consistent goalscoring form.
Kilmarnock vs Rangers
I was at Rugby Park last weekend to see Kilmarnock lose narrowly to Hibs and the good news is that defender Clevid Dikamona was not as seriously injured as first thought. The former Hearts defender required lengthy treatment before being carried off on a stretcher and although Alex Dyer will be without him for this game against the league leaders, thankfully it’s not a long-term injury.
In an attacking sense, I’ve been so impressed with Chris Burke over the last 12 months or so for Kilmarnock, his attitude and desire to contribute at 36 is as strong as it ever was. He’ll want to trouble Steven Gerrard’s men, who are consistently giving nothing away defensively. The goal from Alfredo Morelos on Thursday night in the Europa League should see him get another start on Sunday. In this extraordinary season where every league game is so important, it’s a chance for Rangers to go nine points clear of Celtic with a win, albeit having played two more games.
Hearts vs Hibernian
I am not entirely convinced the Scottish Cup should be played to a finish when it will be 16 months since the competition started before we eventually get a winner on December 20.
The league may have been called early, but bizarrely, the Scottish Cup has the chance to conclude and I’m convinced the sense of injustice felt over the summer months will be used by manager Robbie Neilson when he takes his squad to Glasgow on Saturday.
He has a good level of experience to call upon in goalkeeper Craig Gordon, goalscorer Liam Boyce and Scotland international Steven Naismith. It’s a squad that looks by far and away the strongest in the Championship and with two league wins out of two already over Dundee and Arbroath, it’s been a positive start.
However, they are up against a Hibs side who have also made a marvellous start to their season, sitting in third place in the Scottish Premiership and boasting of international players of their own.
Defender Ryan Porteous was called up by Steve Clarke to the national squad and both Paul McGinn and Paul Hanlon soon joined him. What a boost for everyone at Easter Road to see three players recognised at a higher level for their fine form.
Kevin Nisbet already has seven goals to his name since joining from Dunfermline and he’s made the step up in class look easy. At this rate, maybe he too will receive international recognition from Steve.
Nisbet is well supported by Christian Doidge and Martin Boyle and it is their combination play that has seen Hibs get the upper hand and win the majority of their games so far.
Given that Hibs have already played a quarter of the season, they should be well tuned to a demanding fixture whereas Hearts are still finding their feet after a couple of cup ties to add to their two league games. I think it will make all the difference.
PREDICTION: Hearts 1-3 Hibs
Celtic vs Aberdeen
Given their recent form, Aberdeen must feel as if this could be their time to get to another Scottish Cup final.
Not only has their form been very good with an impressive mixture of goalscorers, they were a match for Celtic last weekend in that thrilling 3-3 draw at Pittodrie.
In Lewis Ferguson, Derek McInnes has a player for the big occasion. He scored the only goal of the game when Aberdeen beat Rangers in a Scottish League Cup semi-final a couple of years ago at Hampden, proving he can perform on the big occasion. He already has eight goals to his name so far this season.
Ferguson’s previous best was eight for an entire season so he definitely has the ability to score more often. Those who point out his tally is made up of half a dozen from the penalty spot should remember they still count. There is a skill to handling that pressure and scoring regularly from 12 yards.
With Dylan McGeouch out for at least eight weeks with a groin injury picked up at the weekend, McInnes will have to mix things up in the middle of the park.
I was very impressed with the contribution of Scott Wright last weekend. His direct style and determination to take players on gave his team-mates a lift and it is likely he will play from the start.
Having won the last four domestic trophies available, Neil Lennon is fending off talk of a crisis after losing back-to-back games against Rangers and AC Milan followed by a draw at Pittodrie! Such is the way of it in Glasgow. I’m convinced hysteria and extreme reaction will dominate every poor result for both Celtic and Rangers this season given the importance of the league title.
I imagine captain Scott Brown will return to the starting line-up for Celtic, Olivier Ntcham got the nod last weekend but yet again he failed to impress. Brown’s experience of the big occasion can help spur the team on. Leigh Griffiths scored an outstanding goal against Aberdeen last weekend and I also expect him to start.
Celtic’s record at Hampden in recent years has been extraordinary, But with no crowd to inspire them, it should make it easier for the Dons to compete.
Remember, while Celtic travel to France for their Europa League clash with Lille on Thursday night, Aberdeen have the full week without any distractions to prepare for this massive game.
Like last Sunday, this is sure to be close but I am taking Celtic’s know-how and experience of winning big games at Hampden in recent years to give them the edge.
PREDICTION: Celtic 2-1 Aberdeen
What do you make of Andy Walker’s Scottish Premiership and Cup Semi Final score predictions for this upcoming weekend? Let us know by commenting below!