Hearts v Hibs drama, Leigh Griffiths 100-goal record, eating confidence - 5 things to look out for in the SPFL this weekend

Joel Sked looks ahead to the return of the SPFL by picking out five things to keep an eye out for

Tynecastle Park will be packed for the Edinburgh derby on Sunday. Picture: SNS
Tynecastle Park will be packed for the Edinburgh derby on Sunday. Picture: SNS

Edinburgh derby drama

Boxing day, 2006. If you had access to a DeLorean, complete with flux capacitor, you would have to set the clock back nearly 5,400 days to the last time Hearts and Hibs played out a genuine Edinburgh derby classic. An early goal, goalkeeping mistakes, a comeback, a red card, a packed stadium and a fantastic winning strike saw Hearts win 3-2.

The sides come into this weekend occupying the top two places in the cinch Premiership and there is a lot to like about Robbie Neilson and Jack Ross’ sides. Both managers have been criticised by supporters for a cautious approach at times but with Tynecastle sold out, the energy and passion should filter on to the pitch and encourage players to get forward. Even if the game isn't a classic, the tension will make sure it remains captivating.

Leigh Griffiths is ten goals away from the 100 mark in the Premiership. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

Griffiths returns

When Dundee host Livingston on Saturday all eyes will be on Leigh Griffiths. As he begins his second spell at Dens Park against a former club, he is closing in on a century of league goals since the rebrand to the Premiership. He will get game time and most importantly trust at Dundee. Don't be surprised if he gets up and running right away and goes from 90 to 100 before the year is out.

First v Second in the Championship

Inverness CT host Partick Thistle. Back in July, ICT boss Billy Dodds admitted on BBC Sportsound that he hadn’t worked much on the back four as they struggled in the Premier Sports Cup. Fast forward two months and he has just picked up the manager of the month award for August with the Highlanders top of the table with four wins from four. Not just that, all four have been 1-0 successes.

Peter Grant said that you can't give players a plate of confidence. (Photo by Sammy Turner / SNS Group)

Ian McCall's second spell at Thistle has been a slow burner. Okay, a very slow burner. But they are on the right track. They will test the ICT rearguard as the league's top scorers.

Championship basement battle

"Nobody can hand you a plate of confidence." Dunfermline Athletic boss Peter Grant is right, you can’t load up Deliveroo and order a nice plate of confidence to be delivered to your door. If you could, the Pars and Saturday’s opponents Ayr United would be lying on the couch, top button undone, stuffed. Both sides have been rubbish in the league and prop up the Championship with one point each.

Jim Duffy will take interim charge of Ayr after the club parted company with David Hopkin, while the Pars have been the most disappointing team in all of Scotland. There was hope they could challenge for promotion, instead they have been walloped 3-0 in their last two home fixtures.

Third tier excitement

League One is the most exciting division in Scotland and two teams who will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season meet on Saturday as Montrose travel to Cove Rangers.

The Mighty Mo’ possess arguably the best manager in the league and a settled and consistent squad. Cove, who had a disrupted pre-season, have invested heavily but not had the start to match. Paul Hartley has this weekend added forward Ola Adeyemo, formerly of Dundee United, to a strike force which has Rory McAllister and Mitch Megginson.

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