Celtic

Celtic vs Kilmarnock

, KO: 12:30 Apr 27, 2019, Celtic Park
Kilmarnock

CELTIC'S procession towards the Premiership title has slowed to a crawl in the last few weeks with Neil Lennon's men stumbling towards the finishing line.

When the Hoops moved 13 points clear of Rangers at the top with a 2-1 win last month it looked like things would be wrapped up rapidly.

But after seeing off St Mirren in the wake of that derby win, Lennon's side have dropped four points in dreary stalemates against Livingston and Hibs.

That has allowed Rangers to cut the gap at the summit to nine points with four games to go, meaning the title can't be officially sealed if Celtic beat Kilmarnock on Saturday.

Four points are needed to put things to bed but a home win over Killie is by no means a gimme. After taking charge at Rugby Park, Steve Clarke was unbeaten in his first four meetings with the Hoops, claiming two wins and two draws.

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Celtic have won their last two meetings with Clarke's side, crushing them 5-1 at Parkhead then grinding out a 1-0 victory at Rugby Park thanks to Scott Brown's late strike.

But that second win came against 10 men after Kirk Broadfoot's red card and Celtic are nowhere near as fluent as they were when they dished out that 5-1 beating.

The Parkhead side's best performances this season have come when Ryan Christie has been in midfield so his absence through a horror facial injury is a huge blow. Left-back Kieran Tierney also missed the weekend game at Easter Road with an ongoing pelvic injury and Celtic will miss his bursts down the flank if he's sidelined again.

Loan signings Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah also gave Celtic a boost after their January arrivals but both players have been out of favour under Lennon.

I fancied Weah for a goal if he featured against Killie but he has been left out of the squad completely, while Burke has been forced to settle for a place on the bench.

Tom Rogic has been handed a start so try backing the Aussie for anytime scorer at 11/4 with Betfair.

Kilmarnock's defence has been the cornerstone of their success under Clarke but they will be without both starting centre-backs here after Broadfoot and Stuart Findlay were sent off in the controversial 1-0 defeat at Aberdeen.

Killie appealed against Broadfoot's dismissal, and a third red card dished out to midfielder Rory McKenzie, after boss Steve Clarke's epic rant at ref Steven McLean. But only McKenzie's red was downgraded, meaning Broadfoot will join Findlay in sitting this one out.

On-loan midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu also can't play against parent club Celtic while winger Jordan Jones remains injured.

Without such key players at Parkhead it could be hard to keep Celtic at bay, especially with Scott Brown free to lead the Hoops after avoiding an SFA ban.

Given Celtic's lack of punch and Killie's fine defensive record, plenty of punters will be backing a lack of goals in this one.

But an early Hoops strike against a makeshift Kilmarnock defence could make it an open game so I fancy over 3.5 goals at 2/1 with Paddy Power. The 12/5 Ladbrokes offer on the first half being the highest-scoring half also appeals as Lennon will have his side fired up for this one, especially with the Hoops looking to put on a performance in honour of Billy McNeill in the first game since the Lisbon Lion's death.

Celtic should be winning at half-time and full-time but it's sadly a best 20/23 with Bet Victor. Better value is a Hoops win with both teams to score at 5/2 with Bet Victor.

This match between Celtic and Kilmarnock will be played on Apr 27, 2019 and kick off at 12:30

Celtic vs Kilmarnock Betting Tips & Predictions
Over 3.5 goals
2/1
PaddyPower
Celtic win with both teams to score
5/2
BetVictor
Tom Rogic anytime scorer
11/4
McBookie

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