GW 19 – Ones to Watch

Ally: The fixtures certainly come thick and fast over the festive period, despite the best attempts of the famous British weather. My first pick for Gameweek 19 is the Scottish Premiership tie which sees Hibernian host a struggling Ross County side. The Hibees are currently in fourth place, just two points behind Aberdeen in the second qualifying spot for the inaugural Europa Conference League which gets underway in 2021. They can count themselves unfortunate to have lost 1-0 at champions elect Rangers on Boxing Day with a spirited performance, and manager Jack Ross will be hoping his side can get back to winning ways with victory over the league’s basement side. While Hibs have scored more goals on the road this season the omens still look good, having found the net in each of their last 9 matches at Easter Road in all competitions dating back to late August 2020. Visitors Ross have lost their last 3 away matches each by the same 2-0 scoreline, and aside from a famous 2-0 win over Celtic in the League Cup have kept just 2 other away clean sheets in the past year. They fare little better in the head-to-head, as the hosts have won 4 of the last 6 meetings in Edinburgh dating back to 2014, scoring in all 6 games, so on this basis I’m going with home advantage to prevail. 

Staying in Scotland, I’m dropping down a division to the Championship for my second selection where third placed Raith Rovers face bottom side Queen of South. The team from Kirkaldy have been in blistering goalscoring form so far this season, hitting 21 in just 8 league games, 10 of which have come in their 3 home games to date. Only Championship leaders Hearts can better Rovers’ goal tally, with an even more impressive 26 to their name in the same number of games. Raith have scored 5 goals in a league game on 3 occasions already this season, including once against Tuesday’s opponents Queen of the South at their Palmerston Park home back in October, and most recently on Boxing Day at Alloa. The magnificently named Doonhammers travel to Fife on the back of a run of 7 league defeats out of 9, including four straight losses which has seen them ship 14 goals, and I don’t expect them to find any belated Christmas cheer on offer at Stark’s Park given Raith’s recent goalscoring form. Good luck with your selections.