Celtic vs FalkirkScottish Cup, KO: 19:30 Apr 3, 2021, Celtic Park
THIS has been a season to forget for Celtic but their miserable campaign can still have a silver lining if they can keep hold of the Scottish Cup, with Falkirk their first opponents on the road to Hampden.
Hoops fans are still hurting from watching the bid for an unprecedented 10th successive title go off the rails, with bitter rivals Rangers snatching the crown with two Old Firm derbies still to play.
John Kennedy remains in caretaker charge while the board seek Neil Lennon's successor and has yet to taste defeat, with Falkirk rank outsiders for this cup tie.
The Bairns lead the way in League One and have been in good form since the lower-league resumption, winning three in a row before the midweek stalemate with Dumbarton at home.
They knocked out Championship side Arbroath in the last round, busting my coupon, but it would be a massive shock if they provided a fitting end to Celtic's season of misery.
How the bookies view it
Falkirk are rank outsiders, with Betfair pricing a win inside 90 minutes at 25/1 and VBet offering 18/1 on the Bairns qualifying. Celtic are as short as 1/100 with Betfair to qualify while a win in 90 minutes is a best 1/12 at Red Zone. A draw to take us into extra time is priced 14/1 at Betfair.
Recent head to head
Falkirk famously beat Celtic in the 1997 Scottish Cup semi-final, a defeat that ended the reign of Tommy Burns. But victories in this fixture have been thin on the ground since then, with the Bairns winning just one of the last 20 meetings.
With Falkirk languishing in the lower leagues, the only clash in the last 11 years came in the 2012 League Cup semis, with Celtic winning 3-1 (below).
Players to watch
James Forrest could be handed his first start since September after cameos off the bench in Celtic's last two games following a long-term injury. The winger is just 5/6 with McBookie for a goal but should be longer odds when other firms price up the anytime scorer market.
Winger Callumn Morrison has chipped in with eight goals for Falkirk this season and could be the biggest threat to the Celtic defence. The former Hearts kid is 9/2 with McBookie for a goal.
Anything else catch the eye?
Falkirk conceded four times when they lost at home to Rangers in the League Cup earlier this season and that could be a good barometer for this tie. Over 3.5 Celtic goals pays 9/10 at TonyBet and is a decent shout for accumulators while a home win to nil looks even better at 20/21 with McBookie.
TonyBet are offering 215/100 on the Hoops winning by either 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0 and that might stand a chance if Kennedy's side can get an early goal.
Former Hearts and Dundee United star Morgaro Gomis will be in the heat of the midfield battle so I fancy the Falkirk veteran for a card at 11/8 with McBookie.
This Scottish Cup match between Celtic and Falkirk will be played on Apr 3, 2021 and kick off at 19:30. Check below for our tipsters best Celtic vs Falkirk prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.