Rangers eye three-point lead

Celtic meet St Mirren at Parkhead facing the possibilty of having to play catch-up in the Scottish Premier League title race for the first time since November. The champions dropped points for the third game in a row last weekend when Motherwell scored a late equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw at Fir Park.

Rangers's win against Kilmarnock sent the Ibrox club top on goal difference, and with the Gers taking on Hamilton in the early kick-off on Saturday, the Hoops could find themselves three points behind when they take to the pitch. Celtic's strikers have come in for some criticism as the goals have dried up in recent games, with the Parkhead side having won only one league game since the turn of the year.

Greek international Georgios Samaras believes a run of injuries for the forwards has hindered Celtic this year but believes the team will benefit now that they are all reaching full fitness again. "It's maybe made things difficult for us," Samaras said.

"I was out for over a month, Jan (Vennegoor of Hesselink) was out for a long time and when we were out, Scott McDonald had to handle everything, with Cillian (Sheridan) helping him out in a few matches. Shaun Maloney was able to play up front as well, before he got injured, and other times we had to play with one striker and that's difficult, not just for the strikers, but for the whole team because the system has to change a little bit.

"But now, we are back to normal and it's exactly the same as it was last year and at the start of the season. We (Samaras, Vennegoor of Hesselink and McDonald) are the three main strikers, competing for two positions and all three of us are good enough to start. Whoever scores the most goals and plays the best will start."

We had to play with one striker and that's difficult, not just for the strikers, but for the whole team because the system has to change a little bit,
Celtic striker Georgios Samaras.

Old Firm rivals Rangers take on Hamilton at New Douglas Park with boss Walter Smith still without Lee McCulloch and Nacho Novo due to injury but Kenny Miller should continue to partner Kris Boyd up front. Hamilton's vital win away to Falkirk last week means the Lanarkshire club are now pushing for a top-six finish.

Elsewhere, Aberdeen host Kilmarnock at Pittodrie, with the Dons continuing their quest for a European spot boosted by the news that midfielder Derek Young has signed a new two-year contract. Kilmarnock are now third-bottom after a poor run of form that has seen them win only once in nine games.

Dundee United and Hearts clash at Tannadice in the battle for third place. Just two points separate the sides and United manager Craig Levein is hoping home advantage can see his side win and overtake the Jambos in the league.

Hibernian entertain Falkirk at Easter Road in what is a vital fixture for both clubs. Mixu Paatelainen's side have seen their hopes of a top-six finish fade after collecting only one win in their last seven league games, while Falkirk are only one point above Inverness in the relegation battle.

Meanwhile, Inverness Caledonian Thistle's bid to avoid the drop continues against Motherwell. Terry Butcher's team are unbeaten since his arrival while Well's draw with Celtic last weekend took them into the top six.