Celtic To Cut Their Cloth With Dark Blues
Celtic v Dundee
Celtic will hope to continue their seemingly inevitable march towards the Scottish Premier League title on Friday with another three points against Dundee at Celtic Park.
Leigh Griffiths’ second half hat-trick gave the Hoops a comfortable 3-0 victory over Dundee United at Tannadice last weekend and kept the distance between his side and Aberdeen in second at eight points with only four games remaining.
Celtic’s only defeat in their last eleven games came in controversial fashion in the Scottish Cup semi-final extra-time loss to Inverness Caledonain Thistle a fortnight ago but their league campaign has rarely looked in doubt with six wins and a draw from their last seven league outings. Ronny Delia’s side have also kept clean sheets in nine of their last 13 home games although last Sunday’s win was the first time they’ve stopped the opposition scoring in the last five.
Griffiths’ treble was the second time he’s registered a hat-trick in his last four games, taking him to 12 league goals for the season and 18 in total.
A 2-0 home defeat to St Johnstone on Saturday made it three losses on the spin for Dundee who performed well to make it to the top-six in the Scottish top flight this season but now look to have taken to an early summer holiday with nothing to play for. The Dark Blues’ only win in their last seven came in the derby against city rivals Dundee United while they’ve also failed to score in three of those seven games, the Terrors are also the only team in the top half of the table to have picked up fewer points on the road than Dundee this season.
Despite only scoring once in his last nine appearances Greg Stewart remains Dundee’s top scorer this season with 13 league goals and 15 in total which resulted in a Scottish PFA player of the year nomination for the striker.
Gary Mackay-Steven could return to the starting XI at the expense of Stuart Armstrong for Celtic after impressing off the bench at the weekend but Delia looks set to keep faith with the rest of the same side that strolled to the win at Tannadice with no fresh injury concerns.
Dundee boss Paul Hartley is likely to shuffle his pack following what he described as their ‘worst performance of the season’ against St Johnstone. Stewart is out after he was sent off in that defeat while Ian Davidson and Luka Tankulic, amongst likely others, should feature from the start.
Head to Head
The last meeting between the teams came just over a week ago when Celtic came away from Dens Park with a 2-1 win, their third win in a row against Dundee this season with their first meeting last August ending all square.
The Hoops have now won 14 of the last 16 encounters between the two clubs, with the other two ending as draws while the Dark Blues haven’t won at all in this fixture since 2001.
With the possibility of wrapping up the title to aim for this weekend should they win and Aberdeen fail there’s quite a carrot dangled in front of Celtic here with the 2/13 and 6/1 on respective home and away wins telling its own story.
Best to look elsewhere for value then so the 7/10 on Delia’s side to score in both halves looks the pick of the odds-against bets while 23/20 on them winning both halves on their way to yet another Scottish crown could reap rewards too.