ANYONE who watched last week’s Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers will struggle to back against the champions today.
Celtic’s 2-0 Hampden victory was more emphatic than the scoreline suggested and there was a huge gulf between the teams.
Brendan Rodgers will be minus star striker Moussa Dembele but skipper Scott Brown is available and it should be business as usual.
Celtic have won four and drawn one of five derbies this season and my worry is how wrong Pedro Caixinha got his tactics last week in a game bossed by Brown.
If you believe Rodgers’s men will this time stress their superiority go with Celtic -1 at 15-8 with Paddy Power.
Rangers are a best 4-1 with McBookie while the draw pays 3-1 with the Scots firm.
I tipped Scott Sinclair to score last week and he is 17-11 at 888sport to net again – and remember he’ll be on penalties.
There will be calls for Caixinha’s men to get stuck in and it could be more fiery than Hampden. Bookies though don’t give much away on cards although I can see a red it pays just 13-8 at Stan James.
McBookie are offering 16-1 Brown will be sent off and spokesman Paul Petrie said: “Brown is sure to be under the microscope now and after Andy Halliday’s tackle last week so will referee John Beaton.”
The other top-six matches see Aberdeen meet St Johnstone and Hearts face Partick Thistle.
Boosted by their cup semi-final win the Dons can edge Saints but best bet could be under 2.5 goals at 9-10 with Marathonbet. Three of four meetings have gone that way this season including two 0-0 draws.
It’s honours even between the Jambos and the Jags this season and the meeting at Tynecastle could be a draw at 5-2 with McBookie.
The battle to beat the drop sees Neil McCann start his Dundee reign at Motherwell. A win would lift them above the Fir Park men but I’m backing a home win at 13-10 with McBookie and consider Louis Moult to score at 5-4 with McBookie.
In the Championship it might be the penultimate round but four out of matches mean something – only Dunfermline v Morton is meaningless – with two sides playing to dictate the play-off order and two from four for the relegation places.
St Mirren will finally climb out of the bottom two if they beat Raith at home and should do so. Rovers missed out in injury time to Hibs on Wednesday and Saints can add to their misery at 21-20 with Marathonbet.
Ayr look doomed and face the toughest test on paper at home to Hibs. Neil Lennon’s weakened side performed against Raith but the away is short at 8-13 with Betway.
Dundee Utd and Falkirk are fighting for second spot with the Bairns one point clear. Both are at home – United to Dumbarton and Bairns to QoS – and both should win. The double pays 17-10 at Stan James.
Strangely Dumbarton and St Mirren are the joint highest scorers away from home so look at United to win with both on target at 14-5 with Stan James.
In League One there is an incredible four-way fight for two play-off spots with East Fife, Brechin, Airdrie and Queen’s Park all locked on 46 points.
Queen’s only recent defeat was to champs Livingston so they will fancy their chances against bottom dogs Stenny. A defeat could send Stenny down and I’m on Queen’s at 27-20 with Marathonbet.
Four games in League Two are still alive with Forfar fighting Arbroath for the title, Annan, Montrose and Elgin going for two play-off spots and Clyde, Berwick and Cowdenbeath trying to avoid the drop.
Montrose travel to Annan where the last five meetings have gone over 3.5 goals as have all three clashes this season. Take btts and over 2.5 goals at evens with Coral.
Arbroath v Elgin has gone over 4.5 goals in four out of six. Again take btts and over 2.5 goals at evens with Coral.
And finally could Clyde v Berwick be a draw at 14-5 with Stan James. That would save both sides if Cowdenbeath lose at home to leaders Forfar.
Bets to Consider
Griffiths to score first
Montrose v Annan btts & over 2.5 goals
Arbroath v Elgin btts & over 2.5 goals
|Racebets||Get 100/1 ANY horse in the Grand National. Use code GN1001 when you join Racebets. (New customers)||CLAIM OFFER|
|William Hill||Bet £10 on the Grand National, get a £5 free bet. (New customers)||CLAIM OFFER|
|Coral||Money back if your horse falls in the Grand National. Max refund £25. (All customers)||CLAIM OFFER|
|Paddy Power||2 Up - You win! Paddy Power will pay you as a winner straight away if your team goes 2 goals up at any stage in the game. Ends Jan 9th.||CLAIM OFFER|
|Racebets||Use code WELCOME for up to £50 matched bonus when you join Racebets.||CLAIM OFFER|
|Marathonbet||Get a £20 matched bonus when you open a new account at Marathonbet. Use code TV20||CLAIM OFFER|
|Coral||Opt in to Coral's Bet & Get Club and receive a free £5 bet each week.||CLAIM OFFER|
|BetVictor||Bet £10 Get £60 when you open a new account at BetVictor.||CLAIM OFFER|