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Preview: Hibernian vs. Dundee United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Hibernian and Dundee United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Hibernian head into their Scottish Premiership encounter with Dundee United on Saturday unbeaten in seven matches and having won their last four games in all competitions.

Meanwhile, the Tangerines suffered their fourth home defeat of the season, losing 2-1 against league leaders Rangers.


Match preview

Hibernian manager Jack Ross pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Hibernian came from behind to seal a 2-1 away victory at Alloa Athletic in the Scottish League Cup on Tuesday night.

Christian Doidge's strike just after the hour mark was followed up by an own goal from Nicky Jamieson in the 83rd minute which turned the game on its head and booked Hibernian's place in their third semi-final in four years.

Jack Ross will be pleased to have top goalscorer Kevin Nisbet back in the fold, after the 23-year-old missed the trip to Alloa with a slight muscle problem. Nisbet has scored 11 goals in all competitions this campaign, with nine of those in the Scottish Premiership, two behind the league's current top scorer James Tavernier.

Easter Road is a stadium which has seen plenty of goals in recent weeks at both ends of the pitch. Hibernian have scored at least twice and conceded at least twice in each of their last four home league games, with three of those matches ending as a 2-2 draw.

Hibs, who are unbeaten in their last five meetings with the Tangerines, have won both of their last two league games against newly-promoted clubs and would move into second place above Celtic with another victory, albeit having played three matches more than the Hoops.

Dundee United boss Micky Mellon pictured on August 22, 2020© Reuters

After a run of seven games unbeaten in all competitions, Dundee United have since suffered back-to-back defeats against Livingston and Rangers.

Micky Mellon's side, who had only 25% possession against the Gers, took a more cautious approach on Sunday, but his team were still able to give a good account of themselves against the league leaders.

Lee Smith's equaliser against Rangers was Dundee United's 13th goal in the Scottish Premiership; only St Mirren and Ross County have scored fewer all season.

With top goalscorer Nicky Clark, who has netted seven of United's 13 goals this campaign, forced to self-isolate, Mellon will be relying on his other forward options to step up and find their shooting boots.

Having won both of their first two away league games this campaign, the Tangerines have since failed to win any of their last six outings on the road – drawing and losing three matches each – and have scored just one goal in this run.

Dundee United do have a good record away at Hibs, losing only one of their last nine top-flight matches at Easter Road, although this is their first such visit since a 3-1 victory back in February 2014.

Securing the three points on Saturday could move United into fifth place, eight points behind Aberdeen in fourth, who will have two games in hand.

Hibernian Scottish Premiership form: WLDDWW
Hibernian form (all competitions): DDWWWW

Dundee United Scottish Premiership form: DWDWLL
Dundee United form (all competitions): WDWWLL


Team News

Kevin Nisbet pictured for Hibernian in October 2020© Reuters

Midfielder Scott Allan has rejoined first-team training, but Hibs refuse to put a timescale on his return to action. Allan has not played since August due to a mystery illness, however the 29-year-old was given the green light from doctors to pull his boots back on this week.

Winger Jamie Murphy will not be available this weekend as he is nursing a hamstring injury.

Striker Kevin Nisbet is set to join Christian Doidge up front, which could see Jamie Gullan drop to the bench.

Dundee United will be without injured midfielders Logan Chalmers (ankle) and Peter Pawlett (groin), while Declan Glass, who has been ruled out since September, also remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Striker Nicky Clark, who missed the defeat to Rangers, will also be unavailable this weekend as he was forced into self-isolation, so Lawrence Shankland is expected to start again up front.

Hibernian possible starting lineup:
Marciano; McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon, Stevenson; Boyle, Hallberg, Newell, Wright; Nisbet, Doidge

Dundee United possible starting lineup:
Siegrist; Smith, Connolly, Edwards, Reynolds, Robson; McNulty, Fuchs, Harkes, Sporle; Shankland


SM words green background

We say: Hibernian 3-1 Dundee United

Goals have been flying in at Easter Road lately and we expect no change on Saturday. Even though Dundee United are likely to be difficult to break down, we believe Jack Ross's side have enough quality in the final third, even with Kevin Nisbet absent, to secure the three points and back-to-back league victories over the Tangerines for the first time since December 2006.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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Kevin Nisbet pictured for Hibernian in October 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1RangersRangers6411115613
2Hibernian6330126612
3Hearts633095412
4Motherwell632196311
5Dundee UnitedDundee Utd631234-110
6Celtic6303164129
7Aberdeen62226608
8St Johnstone613234-16
9Livingston611439-64
10St Mirren6042512-74
11Ross County6033513-83
12Dundee6033412-83

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