Hibernian vs Motherwell | Saturday 15th August 2020, 17:30 | Sky Sports
It's safe to say that both these sides have enjoyed contrasting starts to the Premiership campaign thus far. The duo were expected to challenge, along with Aberdeen, for the ‘best of the rest’ tag behind usual front-runners Celtic and Rangers.
Hibs can be delighted with their start – a maximum return from three fixtures – negotiating a home win against Kilmarnock, as well as two triumphs at Livingston and newly-promoted Dundee United. Motherwell, on the other hand, have only one point to show for their efforts – in two home matches against Dundee Utd and Livingston, and an opening trip to Ross County.
Last time out
Hibs, whilst not being as swashbuckling as they were at Livingston last weekend, were still the dominant team against the Tangerines on Tuesday night. Winning 1-0, Jack Ross's men were comfortable enough in victory, limiting United to very few chances.
David Turnbull and Alan Campbell were the Motherwell scorers in the home 2-2 draw with Livvy in midweek. These players aside, Steelmen boss Stephen Robinson more or less launched a tirade at the rest of his team post-match. It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction he gets from his players now.
Meanwhile, the Lanarkshire visitors have signed ex-Killie free agent Stephen O'Donnell. It's unclear if the capped Scotland full back will be ready to start in Edinburgh, as he won't have played a competitive match for over five months.
The Easter Road men's forwards tallies read well after three games – Kevin Nisbet (3), Christian Doidge (2) and Martin Boyle (2). So as you can see, the front men for Hibs are in decent nick.
The same can't be said of the Steelmen strikers. Chris Long and Jordan White have yet to break their duck this season, and the same applies to the other ‘Well front-men that have been called on from the bench.
Motherwell are now only one win in their last 13 competitive matches, and they haven't won at Easter Road in seven years. So the momentum is very much with Hibs, going into this.
Hibs will be looking to keep their 100% record going, and make it 12 points out of a possible 12. That’s a start that hasn’t been achieved by the club since 1974. An added incentive, due to other teams COVID-19-related cancellations, means Hibs have a great chance to open up a big gap at the top of the league along with Rangers.
The 21/20 with Betfred for the Hibees to win looks nice, as they should be odds on in my book.
Another feature of this match is the possibility of cards. Motherwell were the most carded team in the league last season with 68. In their first three games, they have achieved 35/20/20 Bookings Points, and they were a bit passive at times in those.
Add to that, Robinson having verbally ripped into his team the other night, it's quite possible the Steelman will come out with a more aggressive, in-your-face approach to try and stifle this in-form Hibs side. The 13/8 SkyBet are offering on Motherwell 30+ Bookings Points looks a fair price.
The man in the middle
Greg Aitken will be overseeing this televised clash in Leith. It will be his first competitive match he's taken charge of since March. Greg isn't always a regular Premiership referee, he also refs in some of the lower leagues in Scotland. Some of his card stats are here:
- In his last 19 matches in all competitions, he has shown a red card 10 times (three came in one match). Therefore 8/19 of the games contained at least one red card (0.42 average).
- In those last 19 matches, he flashed the yellow card 65 times (3.42 average).
- In his seven Premiership games he was in charge of last season, he produced two red cards (0.29)
- In the same 7 Premiership matches, he showed the yellow card on 29 occasions. (4.14)
- In 2018/19, in 11 Premiership matches, his card count was 45 yellows and two reds.
- In 2017/18 he brandished the red card a whopping 12 times in his 29 matches.
So as you can see, this referee is quite adept at producing the cards on a regular basis, especially in the top division. It's not inconceivable that a Red Card could be dished out in this clash, so SkyBet's 4/1 is maybe worth an interest.