Feisty Affair On The Cards In Old Firm ShowdownStats
Celtic v Rangers
The first Old Firm meeting in almost three years takes place in Hampden Park on Sunday in what is sure to be a feisty affair with emotions running high…
Celtic come into this huge semi-final clash as overwhelming favourites and amid a strong run of form. The Hoops have won their last four consecutive league matches to move to the top of the Scottish Premiership table and have now not conceded a goal in almost eight hours of football following five consecutive clean sheets.
Last Saturday’s narrow 1-0 win against bottom club Ross County was far from convincing, however. Although the positive aspect to come out of the game, as well as the three points of course, was Kris Commons’ first league goal since September.
Rangers also arrive at Hampden Park following a narrow and unconvincing 1-0 win after they defeated Alloa at the weekend thanks to top scorer Nicky Law’s 10th goal of the season. The Teddy Bears have now won their last two league games but remain some 13 points behind Scottish Championship leaders Hearts, although they do have a game in hand.
Winger Aleksandar Tonev returns from a seven-game suspension, but is unlikely to go straight into the Celtic starting XI while Charlie Mulgrew has been ruled out for six weeks after aggravating an existing knee injury in an Under-20 game last week.
Off-field issues are still dominating the headlines at Rangers with caretaker manager Kenny McDowall following in the footsteps of Ally McCoist and recently tendering his resignation. He will, however, remain at the club for another 12 months as he serves his notice period.
The home side won each of the four matches played when the sides last met back in the 2011/12 season. But that must seem like a lifetime ago for Rangers fans and we shouldn’t take too much notice of past results between the two when looking at betting propositions here.
Form often goes out of the window when it comes to local derbies, but that theory can be applied tenfold for this Old Firm encounter.
For two great rivals that were accustomed to meeting at least four times a season, and even played each other on seven separate occasions in the 2010/11 season, almost three years without a game is huge and emotions are sure to be running high.
Of course Celtic have the better quality players, but the outcome of this game could depend a lot upon who keeps their emotions best in check. And so, although the Scottish Premiership outfit are the obvious choice to progress, odds of 4/11 about them winning look a little too short to get involved. The 15/2 about a Rangers win looks worth a few quid, as does the 2/1 on Rangers or Draw in the Double Chance market.
I can’t see Rangers keeping a clean sheet, so if you do back The Gers then Rangers & Over 2.5 goals seems a logical choice at a big 10/1. While a more reserved 5/6 can be taken about Both Teams getting on the scoresheet.