WILLIE Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) hits the top-flight in a bid for another winning Scottish NAP this weekend.
St Johnstone v Ross County | Saturday 15:00
As a Scot, the international break was painful – very painful – and I’m glad that there’s plenty of domestic football back on the agenda to focus my attention on this weekend.
Hearts aren’t in action until Monday night because of roadworks in the west of Scotland (no, I’m not kidding), but the Premiership provides the best bet of the weekend as St Johnstone play host to Ross County at McDiarmid Park.
Underrated St Johnstone
Saints are one of those teams that the odds compilers never seem to rate particularly highly and, on this occasion, I’m grateful for that because it gives me a great opportunity to back them at a decent price to pick up all three points against the Staggies on Saturday afternoon.
Tommy Wright’s team have made a decent start to the season, collecting 19 points from their opening 13 fixtures – although hugely disappointing home defeats against Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle will have left a bad taste in the mouth of many a Saints supporter.
Prior to those setbacks, however, St Johnstone had lost just one of their previous eight home matches in all competitions – against Celtic – winning six of the other seven games, with Aberdeen, Celtic and Hearts amongst those beaten at McDiarmid Park.
County’s trying travels
This weekend, Ross County rock up in Perth and Jim McIntyre’s team will fancy their chances of being the latest to stun St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park – but the hosts are great value to get back to winning ways in this one.
Since enjoying an impressive 3-2 win against Inverness Caledonian Thistle in their first away-day of the campaign, the Staggies have seriously struggled to make much of an impact on the road; indeed, McIntyre’s men have picked up just three points from six away matches – courtesy of dour, goalless draws at Ibrox and Tynecastle, as well as a 1-1 draw against Partick Thistle that was secured by a 95th minute equaliser.
Whenever the Staggies have been short of luck on their travels, they’ve taken a thumping – a 4-0 defeat against Aberdeen at Pittodrie and a 4-1 defeat against Motherwell at Fir Park are results that don’t reflect well on Ross County’s chances of picking up any positives from their trip to Perth.
Indeed, County have managed just three goals in their last eight Premier League matches – a run of results that includes a dismal 2-0 defeat against St Johnstone at Dingwall back at the beginning of October.
Saints are better than the odds suggest – I’m not at all convinced that County are; as such, the standout 10/11 quote on offer from William Hill for Tommy Wright’s team to claim all three points offers outstanding value for punters ahead of this weekend’s action.
St Johnstone v Ross County – St Johnstone to win (10/11 William Hill)