PUT on the hard hats – it’s almost time for 90 minutes of madness and mayhem.
The destination is Hampden, Sunday, 12pm – and can you just imagine the scene in pubs up and down the county all afternoon.
A Scottish Cup semi-final meeting will be only the second Celtic-Rangers clash in five seasons and last term I called it spot on – advising a Celtic win by at least two goals.
It’s tougher to pick a result this time round because there’s no doubt the Ibrox side have improved under Mark Warburton while their rivals haven’t progressed as much as they hoped – if at all.
However, if Celtic are at their best and Rangers play to the top of their game I believe the Premiership side will triumph and remember Warburton will be without cup-tied duo Michael O’Halloran and Billy King as well as injured Harry Forrester who has been a key player in recent weeks.
Unlike last season’s League Cup semi-final this one should be closely fought and I’m on Celtic to win 2-1 or 3-1.
Bookies say both teams to score is the most popular punt and it’s easy to say why as both struggle to keep clean sheets. That pays 8-11 at Ladbrokes.
Celtic are hot favourites at 4-6 with Ladbrokes and William Hill and in game where punters back with their hearts rather than their heads Rangers will be well supported at 21-5 with McBookie. A draw that forces extra time pays 16-5 at McBookie.
Goals are expected and so are cards. Warburton says “it’s just another game” but we all know it’s not.
It will be mayhem as usual and ref Craig Thomson likes to flash his cards. He has shown 157 yellows and seven reds – that’s an average of more than four bookings a game.
There were nine bookings when he took charge of Hearts v Hibs in the Scottish Cup and eight when he reffed Ross County v Celtic in the League Cup semi-final.
And if there is a red 188Bet will refund losing correct score, first or anytime scorer, both teams to score and double result markets. Max refund £50.
Celtic skipper Scott Brown is 11-8 to be carded at anytime and I imagine he’ll be in the thick of the action. For first caution Brown is 8-1 while Rangers’ Andy Halliday, another who likes a battle, is 12-1.
McBookie, meanwhile, are doing their bet £5 and get £5 refunded as a free bet if it loses – Scottish residents only. And Ladbrokes have enhanced Rangers to win and Celtic to win for new account holders.
Leigh Griffiths hit a double in the weekend win at Motherwell and will be the striker Rangers must fear. He is 7-2 at Paddy Power to score first. Griffiths is 12-1 to be booked first – and if he nets the chances of him taking off his shirt to celebrated are high. An anytime caution for the striker is 7-4.
In the absence of Martyn Waghorn the goals have been spread about the Rangers team with the likes of James Tavernier, Kenny Miller and Halliday contributing well. Tavernier hit a peach at Hampden last week and is 7-1 with Coral to bulge the net again.
Celtic & Btts
Brown to be booked
Red card in match
Over 6.5 cards