HOPEFULLY today's SPL clash between Celtic and Rangers will be so good everyone will forget about the Scott Brown-El Hadji Diouf feud.

The spat between the Old Firm rivals dominated headlines for days after the 2-2 Scottish Cup draw a couple of weeks ago.

Bookies have also focused on the pair with countless special bets featuring them in the build-to the crunch clash.

But it's not about Brown v Diouf. This is a key encounter in the race for the title and Celtic have a chance to storm eight points clear at the top.

Rangers have two games in hand but as they fight for glory on all fronts, including the Europa League, having points in the bag is more important.

After losing the opening Old Firm showdown at Parkhead, Hoops boss Neil Lennon has wisened up and Celtic, playing one up front, have been the better side in the last two meetings.

Home advantage and a free midweek – while Rangers faced Sporting Lisbon – could give them the edge and I'm on Celtic at 11-10 with various firms.

Rangers are a best 13-5 at Chandler while the draw pays 5-2 with the same firm.

If Celtic go with a lone striker it's likely to be Gary Hooper and he's 11-2 with Skybet to score first. Kris Commons netted on his Old Firm debut and terrorised the defence before being sacrificed after keeper Fraser Forster's sending off. He is 7-1 with 888sport and Betfred to strike first.

For Rangers you can have last week's hat-trick hero Nikica Jelavic at 13-2 with bet365 while Ibrox penalty taker Steven Whittaker is 20-1 with William Hill and Paddy Power.

In the last five Old Firm meetings there has been a penalty or a red card -or both.

A spot-kick to be awarded today pays 9-4 with William Hill and red is 13-10 with none 4-7.

Now to some Brown v Diouf specials. Brown is 13-8 with Hills to be booked and 13-2 to be sent off, Diouf 15-8 and 13-2. Brown to be booked or sent off for a foul on Diouf is 3-1 and vice versa.

Diouf is 8-1 with Hills to pick up the game's first booking with Brown 9-1. McBookie.com offer 40-1 on the duo to be sent off for fighting.

In five of the last seven meetings at Celtic Park the home side opened the scoring. They are 3-4 with William Hill to net first today with Rangers 5-4.

The away team in this fixture has scored at least two goals on every occasion this season. Gers are 10-3 with Hills to score exactly two.

Meanwhile, there is one SPL encounter that's just about skipped unnoticed through the radar. St Mirren entertain a Hibs side who have found some form with two successive wins. Both were at home however – one against the Buddies – and on their travels the last time Colin Calderwood's men netted petrol was £1 a litre. Honestly, it was that long ago.

Saints ended a poor run with a battling 3-3 draw with Inverness last week and could pick up another point. The draw pays 23-10 with Chandler.

Recommendations:

  • Celtic to score first (3-4, Hills)
  • Both teams to score (4-5, Hills)

Super Single:

  • Brown to be booked first (9-1, Hills)

Bonkers Bet:

  • Celtic 2, Rangers 1 (17-2, Skybet)
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