Hearts vs CelticScottish Cup, KO: 15:00 May 25, 2019, Hampden Park
CELTIC will run out at Hampden Park for a sixth consecutive national cup final in their quest to clinch an unprecedented treble Treble.
With the League Cup and Scottish Premiership already secured, Celtic are on the brink of history against Hearts.
However, if you fancy a Scottish Cup shock and Hoops heartbreak, Hearts are as high as 17/2 (BoyleSports) to win in normal time.
Craig Levein's side came close to clinching a draw at Celtic Park last weekend and the Jambos are 4/1 (Bet365) to force extra time at Hampden.
In falling short last Sunday Hearts added to their abject end to the Scottish Premiership season which seen them register a pitiful nine points from the last 42 on offer to them.
The men in maroon haven't won a Scottish Premiership fixture since March and it would appear the Gorgie faithful are losing patience with Craig Levein due to a combination of ropey results and turgid tactics.
Levein's saving grace this season has been the Scottish Cup, but it would be fair to say that Hearts have enjoyed a favourable route to the final having knocked out Livingston, Auchinleck Talbot, Partick Thistle and Inverness respectively.
Celtic on the other hand have had to deal with some awkward assignments since seeing off Airdrie in the fourth round, having overcome St Johnstone, Hibs and Aberdeen to secure a place in their third consecutive Scottish Cup final.
Whats's more, the Hoops haven't conceded a goal in this season's competition and have only lost one of their 22 domestic fixtures this calendar year.
Even with such domestic dominance the Celtic support seem to be split on whether or not Neil Lennon should remain in charge, so the Northern Irishman will be conscious the Scottish Cup Final is the final setting of his audition to be the next permanent Celtic manager.
Despite some dull displays, the interim Bhoys boss has achieved his remit thus far by delivering one of the two trophies that formed part of his mission statement.
The first of those trophies, the Scottish Premiership title, was celebrated by Celtic last Sunday after the Hoops beat Hearts 2-1 in a game that was anything but a Scottish Cup final dress rehearsal as both sides safeguarded their star men with Hampden in mind.
Be that as it may, last weekend's warm-up match represented an opportunity for fringe players to play their way into cup final contention
Hearts' Jake Mulraney put in an impressive performance at Parkhead and will be hoping to have done enough to land a starting spot at Hampden.
The Irish winger finished fabulously following a Scott Bain blunder and was a constant menace to the Bhoys' backline with his pace and trickery.
Should Mulraney start he will most likely be faced with more formidable full-backs in the shape of Kieran Tierney and Mikael Lustig who are both expected to return from injury – but I believe Mulraney can cause both men problems, especially the latter.
The veteran Swedish defender could struggle to cope with Mulraney's speed and direct style and looks generously priced at 15/2 (Bet365) to receive a card from Willie Collum.
Lustig is one of a number of Celtic players who are expected to be restored to the starting 11 along with the likes of skipper Scott Brown, Player of the Year James Forrest and top scorer Odsonne Edouard.
Record signing Edouard has scored significant goals during Lennon's short time back in the Hoops hotseat, having netted in the Old Firm win over Rangers as well as last-minute strikes against Dundee and guess who – Hearts.
The French forward appears to be a man who relishes the big occasions and could be worth backing to find the net at Hampden on Saturday at 10/11 (William Hill)
On the other hand, if you're looking for a Hearts goalscorer, then I like the look of the 4/1 (Bet 365) on offer for man mountain Uche Ikpeazu to score anytime at the National Stadium.
However, the hulking Hearts forward has only hit the net three times this season for a Jambos side who have struggled for goals in the absence of talisman Steven Naismith.
Furthermore, Craig Levein sides are not known for playing free-flowing football and the Hearts boss will almost certainly stick to what he knows by setting to up to frustrate Celtic in this cup final.
Although the men in maroon have endured a miserable few months they are unlikely to roll over for the Scottish champions and could stand firm in the early exchanges.
However, Celtic will probably breakthrough eventually – their superior quality is too good not to – but the odds on a Celtic win are not enticing.
Therefore, consider backing the 2nd half to be the Highest Scoring Half at Hampden at 21/20 (Bet365) and for the Hoops to triumph and clinch a historic treble Treble.
This Scottish Cup match between Hearts and Celtic will be played on May 25, 2019 and kick off at 15:00