OLD FIRM IN CO-OP CUP FIGHT

RANGERS are the new favourites for the SPL title but bookies can’t split them in the fight for the Co-op Cup.

The Glasgow giants are aiming for a place in the last four tonight and both are a biggest 7-4 with the likes of Ladbrokes on the outrights.

Bosses Walter Smith and Neil Lennon will make changes – Rangers more so – but I reckon both will progress mainly because in Scotland you’re not allowed to sacrifice a trophy the way the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United can down south.

William Hill reacted to Gers’ 3-1 Old Firm victory on Sunday by slashing odds of retaining the title to 4-7.

They are a biggest 8-11 (Skybet) but Hills’ belief that the trophy is destined for Ibrox means they have pushed Celtic out to a biggest 5-4. The way Walter Smith’s men played in the second half suggests they’ll be raising the flag again but Old Firm fans bet with their heart so Hills are likely to see some interest.

After a hectic start to the campaign Smith will rest some of his leg-weary stars with the likes of Davie Weir, Allan McGregor, Steven Naismith, Steven Davis and Kenny Miller being given the night off and Sasa Papac out injured. That means Andy Webster, Neil Alexander, James Beattie, John Fleck and others will be given the opportunity to impress and even without half a team the Ibrox men can win at Kilmarnock.

However, it has the makings of a close contest and while I’ll be on Rangers at 4-9 with firms such as bet365 it could be worth risking a wager on Killie plus two at 3-5 with boylesports. Just to win in 90 minutes the Rugby Park men are 13-2 with Paddy Power.

James Beattie will start in place of Miller and is still looking for his first goal for the club. He is 5-4 with Hills to net and 8-5 to hit the target in a Rangers victory.

Celtic are keen to get back on track after their 100 per cent domestic record was shattered by Rangers. They travel to St Johnstone with a full squad but have had a doubt over skipper Shaun Maloney who suffered a head knock against Rangers. Neil Lennon’s men are likely to come out all guns blazing and I fancy them with the handicap. Minus one Celtic are 5-4 with 888sport while Saints are 13-2 with Paddy Power to win in 90 minutes.

Georgios Samaras scored in both games he played against St Johnstone last season. He also netted a hat-trick in the third round of this cup against Inverness so loves the tournament. The Greek striker is 10-11 with Hills to score, 4-1 for two or more and 20-1 to bag a treble. Saints have netted exactly one goal in their last four meetings at home to Celtic and are 11-8 (Hills) to do so again.

SUPER SINGLE

  • Celtic v St Johnstone – Both teams to score (4-5, Coral)
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