THERE’S only one game in town today – OK two if you’re a Man Utd or City fans – and let’s hope we’re talking about the football and nothing else after both big derbies.
Although there’s as much chance of that as Donald Trump booking a holiday to Mexico.
From a betting viewpoint predicting the result of Celtic v Rangers games are rarely a foregone conclusion but I’m confident of calling this correctly. Evene if I’d be happier if Leigh Griffiths started but that looks unlikely after he went for a scan on the hamstring injury that kept him out of Scotland’s midweek trip to Malta.
The Old Firm have met twice in cups since Rangers’ liquidation – and it’s honours even although Mark Warburton’s men have the bragging rights after last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final win on penalties.
However, Gers haven’t looked at their best this season while Celtic are on the rise under Brendan Rodgers.
For me the only thing that can stop the Hoops winning today is indiscipline or being distracted by their trip to Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Much focus will be on the midfield battle between Scott Brown and Joey Barton (if he starts). They’ve done their pre-match talking – let’s hope neither do inplay walking.
With so much hype I can see a red card and it could be for one of the midfield scrappers.
Celtic have conceded in each of their three wins and a repeat – Celtic to win and btts – pays 23-10 at 888sport. Rangers have gone behind in all of their matches in the Premiership – against Hamilton, Motherwell and Killie – before fighting back.
As I said yesterday Joey Barton is 8-1 favourite with McBookie.com to pick up the first card in the Celtic v Rangers match on Saturday. He is followed in the betting by Andy Halliday and Scott Brown on 10-1. The Scouse midfielder is 6-5 to be booked on his Old Firm debut.
Paul Petrie, McBookie.com spokesman, said: “Barton has done a lot of talking since coming to Scotland and it will be fascinating to see how he copes in the cauldron of a Celtic v Rangers game.”
Celtic have been backed from 4-5 to 8-13 for the game despite doubts over the fitness of top scorer Leigh Griffiths. The draw pays 10-3 and Rangers are 9-2.
First Card – selected prices
8-1 Barton, 10-1 Halliday, Brown, 12-1 Wilson, Senderos, 14-1 Hill, 16-1 Lustig, 20-1 Toure.