Scottish football: After a two-week winter break Celtic return to action against Hearts at Parkhead in the standout fixture of a weekend which is in danger of being decimated by Arctic conditions.
Neil Lennon has added centre-back Rami Gershon on loan and the promising young Australian playmaker Tom Rogic to the ranks, though the latter still requires a work permit.
Signed from Central Coast Mariners, the 20-year-old was described by Bhoys winger Kris Commons as having “plenty of ability.”
Commons is back in contention after several weeks out with a thigh injury. Defenders Kelvin Wilson and Efe Ambrose will both be missing due to suspension and international duty, while James Forrest remains sidelined because of a hamstring problem.
Celtic, who will wear black armbands in tribute to club great Sean Fallon, who died yesterday, aged 90 — take on the Jambos looking to improve on the nine-point lead they currently hold over Inverness Caldedonian Thistle and Motherwell at the top.
Tynecastle boss John McGlynn has described the trip to Glasgow’s East End as “the hardest game of the season,” with captain Ryan Stevenson suspended, a number of key players, including Scott Robinson, injured and defender Ryan McGowan having moved to China. McGlynn thinks he will put “one of the youngest Hearts teams ever” on the field.
Aberdeen take on second-placed Inverness, who have also been given a lift with the recent news that their boss Terry Butcher has turned down a move to Barnsley. Butcher has said he wishes to “make history” in the Highlands, with his side still in contention in both cup competitions and tilting at a European spot next season.
Motherwell, who trail Inverness only on goal difference, are at home to St Johnstone on Sunday.
Saints will lose their midfielder Liam Craig to Hibernian in a summer switch, but have lined up the Ross County captain Richard Brittan on a similar pre-contract agreement described by boss Steve Lomas as “a good acquisition” for the Perth outfit.
Hibs have also secured the services of star striker Leigh Griffiths on loan from Wolves until the end of the season and have the chance to improve on fourth place if they get the better of bottom side Dundee, who are without a win since November.
The Dark Blues could find themselves in further difficulties as Ross County can increase the nine-point gap between themselves and the Taysiders when they take on St Mirren in Paisley at lunchtime tomorrow.
Dundee United, who have confirmed boss Peter Houston will leave at the end of the season, travel to Ayrshire to face Kilmarnock, who are a place above them in seventh, but have lost both Liam Kelly and Michael Nelson in the transfer window.
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