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Preview: Motherwell vs. Kilmarnock - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Motherwell and Kilmarnock, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Motherwell will host relegation-threatened Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday, looking to win three consecutive top-flight games for the first time since December 2019.

Meanwhile, the visitors, who convincingly beat the Steelmen 4-1 on home soil in March, have lost 10 of their last 11 away league outings and failed to score in nine of those matches.


Match preview

Graham Alexander, now in charge of Motherwell, pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Motherwell's hopes of lifting silverware for the first time since 1990-91 were ended last weekend as they lost 4-2 on penalties to Hibernian in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.

Christian Doidge's early second-half opener was followed by a close-range effort from Jackson Irvine 10 minutes from time. However, the Steelmen quickly came from two goals behind, with strikes from Ricki Lamie and Tony Watt, to take the tie into extra-time, which eventually had to be settled by a penalty shootout.

Mark O'Hara and Steven Lawless both missed their spot-kicks before Kevin Nisbet's effort was saved by Liam Kelly. However, Hibs defender Ryan Porteous scored the decisive kick from 12 yards, sending the hosts into the semi-finals.

Graham Alexander was disappointed to see his side eliminated from the Scottish Cup and now has only three more league fixtures to prepare for this campaign, with nothing riding on these matches.

Motherwell have been in good form recently, winning four of their last five Scottish Premiership matches, which has guided them 11 points clear of the bottom two. Alexander's side had only won three of their previous 19 league games prior to this run, losing 10 and drawing six in the process.

The Steelmen finished third in the top-flight last season and although they can only finish as high as seventh this campaign, securing a win on Saturday would help them stay on course to match or even better last year's points total of 46.

Kilmarnock were also eliminated from the Scottish Cup on penalties last weekend, losing to St Mirren at McDiarmid Park.

Jamie McGrath's 119th-minute spot-kick sent the tie to penalties as an entertaining encounter ended 3-3 in 120 minutes. Killie midfielder Rory McKenzie missed the only strike from 12 yards, with Kyle McAllister scoring the decisive spot-kick for the Buddies, who won 5-4 in the shootout to book their place in the semi-finals.

Tommy Wright was critical of referee Don Robertson for awarding a penalty to St Mirren late in extra time and was 'extremely disappointed' to see his side knocked out in the quarter-finals because of one "poor decision".

Kilmarnock must now put aside their Scottish Cup heartache and focus on their bid to avoid relegation from the top flight, with just three crucial matches remaining.

Accumulating seven points from their last three league games has boosted Killie's chances of survival, and they now sit five points above basement club Hamilton Academical, who they face on the final day of the season.

Kilmarnock have been victorious in three of their last four league visits to Motherwell, including a 2-0 win in December, which is as many as they managed in the previous 15 top-flight trips to Fir Park.

Claiming all three points on Saturday could see Wright's side move five points clear of the relegation play-off position, currently occupied by Ross County, if they lose to Dundee United.

Motherwell Scottish Premiership form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Motherwell form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Kilmarnock Scottish Premiership form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Kilmarnock form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L


Team News

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright pictured in January 2016© Reuters

Motherwell boss Alexander may decide to stick with the 3-5-2 formation that he used against Hibernian last weekend.

Barry Maguire could return to central midfield at the expense of either O'Hara or Robbie Crawford, while striker Watt could also start ahead of Chris Long.

Forward Jordan Roberts, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury, will be assessed before kickoff to see if he can feature this weekend.

Goalkeepers Scott Fox and Trevor Carson, as well as Sherwin Seedorf, Liam Donnelly and Charles Dunne, all remain out with knee injuries.

Kilmarnock were dealt an injury blow heading into last weekend's match as striker Kyle Lafferty was ruled out with a foot injury, and the forward will also be unavailable for the trip to Fir Park.

Greg Kiltie and George Oakley both started against St Mirren in Lafferty's absence and they could keep their places up front as a result.

Wright may decide to make one or two alterations to his starting lineup which could see defender Zeno Rossi replaced by Arsenal loanee Zech Medley, while experienced midfielder Gary Dicker is set to start at the expense of Youssouf Mulumbu.

Motherwell possible starting lineup:
Kelly; Magloire, Gallagher, Lamie; O'Donnell, Campbell, Crawford, Maguire, McGinley; Watt, Long

Kilmarnock possible starting lineup:
Doyle; Millen, Broadfoot, Medley, Haunstrup; Burke, Dicker, Power, Pinnock; Kiltie, Oakley


SM words green background

We say: Motherwell 1-1 Kilmarnock

Only one of the last 13 Scottish Premiership meetings between Motherwell and Kilmarnock has finished level, with the two sides drawing 0-0 in March 2019.

Saturday's encounter is crucial for the visitors who are desperate to claim three points, however with little to separate the two teams, a score draw could be on the cards at Fir Park.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: Motherwell vs Kilmarnock

Motherwell
60.0%
Draw
6.7%
Kilmarnock
33.3%
15
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Hibernian manager Jack Ross pictured in October 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CRangersRangers33285078106889
2Celtic33209466244269
3Hibernian33168944311356
4Aberdeen331310103231149
5Livingston33128134041-144
6St Johnstone331010133440-640
7St Mirren331010133038-840
8Dundee UnitedDundee Utd33912122943-1439
9Motherwell3398163251-1935
10Ross County3385202659-3329
11Kilmarnock3384213347-1428
12Hamilton AcademicalHamilton3369183160-2927

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