Hoops On Form To Hail Hail At Ross County
Ross County v Celtic
Relegation strugglers, Ross County, meet title challengers, Celtic, at Victoria Park this Saturday lunchtime in the Scottish Premiership…
Without a win since early November and having picked up just three points from a possible 24 in that period, Ross County are becoming increasingly cast adrift at the foot of the Scottish Premiership table. Although The Staggies do have two games in hand, they are now four points behind St Mirren in the table and a further two adrift of 10th place Motherwell.
Last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to St Mirren was a particularly striking blow, particularly as the Buddies played the majority of the game with only 10 men. Liam Boyce scored his first goal since September in that game and in doing so joined Jake Jervis as the club’s top scorer for the season with just three league goals.
County’s main problems, however, have been at the back where they have conceded 43 goals (more than any other side in the division) from just 21 games at an average of more than two goals per game.
Meanwhile, Celtic moved back to their more familiar position at the top of the Scottish Premiership table with a facile 4-0 win against Motherwell in midweek with defender Mikael Lustig scoring his first and second goals of the season on his return from a lengthy lay-off.
The Hoops have now won their last three matches and haven’t conceded a goal in more than six hours of football.
Top scorer Anthony Stokes returned from injury to partner Leigh Griffiths in attack on Wednesday and played more than an hour before being substituted.
Fulham defender Cameron Burgess has joined Ross County on loan until the end of the season and could make his debut in Scotland this weekend, while there have also been extended deals for Michael Gardyne and Paul Quinn agreed in the past 10 days.
Jason Denayer and Scott Brown both recently returned from injury to go back in to Celtic’s starting XI, while top scorer Anthony Stokes can be expected to be in the team again after Wednesday’s run out.
Celtic won 5-0 at Victoria Park earlier this season thanks to goals from John Guidetti, Callum McGregor, Anthony Stokes (2) and Jason Denayer. But it was a very different story when the two sides met at Celtic Park just after Christmas as the Highlanders held the champions to a goalless draw.
Despite that goalless draw at Celtic Park a few weeks back, there’s little reason to be confident of Ross County taking anything from this Saturday lunchtime’s encounter; Celtic at odds of 1/4 look to be a solid enough bet to add to your weekend accumulator.
As standalone bets on this match, I like the look of the 4/5 available on Celtic keeping another clean sheet to make it five consecutive matches without conceding, and I’m particularly keen on the 29/20 about Celtic winning both halves; a bet that would have paid out as a winner in each of The Hoops’ last three matches.