Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Scottish Premiership clash between St Johnstone and Aberdeen, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
St Johnstone play host to Aberdeen knowing that they will avoid finishing in bottom place in the Scottish Premiership table with a draw or better.
Meanwhile, the visitors are looking to end a dismal campaign on a high, and victory on Wednesday evening has the potential to catapult them as high as eighth spot.
While St Johnstone already know that they still have plenty of work ahead of them to avoid relegation, they may at least enjoy a positive moment over the next couple of days.
If Dundee fail to defeat Hibernian on Tuesday night, St Johnstone will be safe from ending the campaign in last place, sending the Saints into a relegation playoff instead.
That will bring its own pressures to Callum Davidson and his squad, but it is the best-case and most likely scenario and one which they should start preparing for sooner rather than later.
All things considered, Davidson can be satisfied with his team’s recent form, just two defeats coming in seven games with one of them being at Celtic.
Last time out, St Johnstone were only denied victory at seventh-placed Livingston courtesy of a last-minute goal, but it remained an important point to keep the pressure on Dundee.
Jim Goodwin has not found it easy to get improvements out of an Aberdeen squad who were already consistently under-performing prior to his arrival.
However, while his overall record reads two wins from 10 games, the 40-year-old has collected a much-needed eight points from the most recent six games.
On the back of edging out Dundee, the Dons earned a 1-1 draw at Hibs on Saturday, although there was a tinge of disappointment having held a lead at Easter Road.
At this stage, preparations are already underway ahead of next season, but the target remains on avoiding a 10th-placed finish, which would represent their lowest spot since 2003-04.
St Johnstone Scottish Premiership form:
Aberdeen Scottish Premiership form:
Having been introduced as substitutes against Livingston, James Brown and Glenn Middleton combined to set up a goal that eventually led to a point being earned.
Callum Booth and Stevie May could both drop out of the starting lineup to accommodate the pair being recalled by Davidson, Brown featuring in a wide position and Middleton joining the attack.
Depending on how Dundee fare 24 hours earlier, Davidson may opt to make further changes if he is able to rest some of his regular players.
Goodwin has openly revealed that he intends to only start players who are under contract for next season or may still have a future at Aberdeen.
With that in mind, it would come as no surprise if the starting lineup remained the same from the Hibs draw, Goodwin having revealed that he had been pleased with the opening 45 minutes before making numerous changes after the break.
St Johnstone possible starting lineup:
Clark; Cleary, Gordon, McCart; Rooney, Hallberg, Davidson, Booth; MacPherson; Middleton, Hendry
Aberdeen possible starting lineup:
Lewis; McCrorie, Gallagher, Bates, MacKenzie; Barron, Ferguson; Hayes, Polvara, Besuijen; Watkins
We say: St Johnstone 1-2 Aberdeen
With neither team being able to boast being in decent form, this could turn out to be a hard-fought contest decided by desire over quality. Much will depend on how Dundee fare on Tuesday, but we still feel that Aberdeen will have enough quality in the final third to edge this fixture by the odd goal in three.
Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats, suggests the most likely outcome of this match is a Aberdeen win with a probability of 38.11%. A win for St Johnstone has a probability of 32.56% and a draw has a probability of 29.3%.
The most likely scoreline is St Johnstone 1-1 Aberdeen with a probability of 13.4%. The next most likely scorelines are 0-1 (13.02%), 1-0 (11.77%), 0-0 (11.43%).