RANGERS’ defeat by Celtic in the League Cup semi-finals won punters fortunes and I see another opportunity to boost the bank balance tonight.
The Ibrox side are in a state of disarray on and off the park after following one cup exit with another against Raith in the Scottish Cup last weekend.
They went down in both games with barely a whimper and team news isn’t in their favour. Of the five loanees sent up by Newcastle only Haris Vuckic, who netted the consolation last week, is fit to start.
Skipper Lee McCulloch is banned after being handed a retrospective ban for stamping and keeper Steve Simonsen has been given a one-game suspension for betting on football matches – none of which involved Rangers and only one of the small-stakes bets included a Scottish team.
Some Rangers fans would argue Simonsen’s absence isn’t a blow and while Lee Robinson is third choice he’s highly regarded. Bilel Mohsni is still out after returning from the African Nations with a knock and again that’s maybe not a negative for the home men.
In the past teams have frozen at Ibrox but crucially Hibs have already won there this season and are in fine form. They routed Rangers 4-0 at Easter Road and are on a run of one defeat in 21 outings.
They look massive at 9-4 with McBookie – and that’s been cut from a best 7-2 at bet365 when prices were unveiled on Monday.
Rangers are lacking confidence and caretaker boss Kenny McDowall isn’t giving any hints he wants to be in charge – and of course there are the ongoing off-field problems that will keep fans away and see more protests from the board outside the ground.
If you have any doubts about Hibs consider them draw no bet at 29-20 with McBookie or not to lose (double chance) at 8-11 with Titanbet.
Rangers will have backers – they always do – at 13-10 with Coral while the draw pays 13-5 at bet365.
Hibs have banged in 24 goals in nine games and have plenty of attacking options with the likes of Jason Cummings, Dom Malonga, Franck Dje Djedje, Scott Allan and Dylan McGeouch.
They are 11-8 at Skybet to score two plus goals and the brash Cummings could be the player to back for first goal at 13-2 with bet365 and Ladbrokes. For an anytime scorer I’d consider Allan at 7-1 with Betfred.
Nicky Law looks Rangers’ best hope of a goal at 10-1 with bet365 while Vuckic is 9-1 with the same firm.
William Hill go 6-1 for Hibs to win and four or more goals as there have been in both meetings this season.
Anyone really tempted by Hibs can have -1 at 11-2 with McBookie and BetVictor or -1AH at 17-4 with bet365.
(9-4, McBookie, BetVictor)
2.5pts Hibs to score 2+
1pt Hibs -1AH
(5-1, William Hill)
1pt Allan to score