Hibernian vs CelticScottish League Cup, KO: 17:00 Nov 2, 2019, Hampden Park
HIBERNIAN have been a bit of a bogey team for Celtic in recent seasons but it would be a huge shock if they knocked Neil Lennon's men out of the Betfred Cup at Hampden.
The Easter Road side were the first Scottish team to take something from the Hoops this season, holding them to a 1-1 draw in the capital back in late September.
They also took five points off the champions last season and seven in the campaign before that so the 10/1 William Hill are offering on a Hibs win at Hampden may seem hugely overpriced to some observers.
But the bookies aren't daft and those lengthy odds reflect the dark clouds that have gathered over Paul Heckingbottom in Leith while the Hoops are basking in the sunshine of a superb run of form.
Since sneaking a 1-0 win over St Mirren on the opening day of the Premiership season, Hibernian haven't won a game in 90 minutes. Their only successes in that dismal 11-game run have come in the Betfred Cup, edging out Morton 5-3 in extra time at Easter Road before seeing off Kilmarnock on penalties following a dreary stalemate at Rugby Park.
The problem for Heckingbottom's side has been defending a lead, with Hibs failing to collect the points from a winning position in six Premiership games. That has left them at the wrong end of the table when holding on to those leads would have seen them riding high in third position.
It looked like that dreadful run would end last weekend when Heckingbottom's side went 2-0 up against Ross County, only for their season to hit a new low as the Staggies netted twice in the last 16 minutes.
Some fed-up fans called for Heckingbottom's head after that game but he survived and presided over another 2-2 draw at home to Livingston on Wednesday night.
That match was the polar opposite of the County clash, with Hibs falling 2-0 down before mounting a comeback of their own, with sub Martin Boyle netting the leveller in stoppage time.
Without that goal, Heckingbottom may not have survived until the weekend but the fightback at least proved that the players are still willing to scrap for him.
However, some punters still jeered the team off and the Easter Road support aren't holding out much hope of a Hampden win, with the club failing to sell out their ticket allocation.
That's perhaps understandable as Hibernian's recent record in the cups against Celtic makes for pretty grim reading, despite their good recent league record in the head-to-head.
The Hoops knocked Hibs out of the Scottish Cup last season with a 2-o win in Leith and won their last League Cup semi-final 4-2 at Hampden two years ago. The two previous cup ties also ended in 3-0 and 5-0 victories for the Parkhead side.
You have to go way back to 2003 for the Edinburgh club's last cup win over Celtic so that gives a better picture of why the bookies rate Hibernian as rank outsiders.
Lennon's side also have their tails up after a four-game winning run that has included an impressive Europa League triumph over Lazio and a 4-0 demolition of Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
They warmed up for the semi-final by beating St Mirren 2-0 at Parkhead on Wednesday night, a victory that kept them ahead of Rangers at the top of the Premiership table.
With Celtic a best 2/7 with Skybet to reach another final you need to be a bit creative to find a bit of value. A Hoops win with both teams to score is as big as 41/20 with 888 Sport and that's worth consideration as the Hibees have netted in their last five games.
The last clash between these sides was a fiery affair, with both managers ripping into referee Kevin Clancy. Heckingbottom was furious the whistler failed to send off Olivier Ntcham while Lennon felt the Hoops were denied two clear penalties.
I wouldn't be surprised if there was a spot-kick in this clash and Celtic to net from one is great value 4/1 at Bet365. They scored from a penalty in last season's semi against Hearts at Murrayfield then bagged two more spot-kicks in the Scottish Cup semi and final at Hampden. The Hoops also scored five spot-kicks in semis and finals across the two previous campaigns so there's definitely a trend.
Lennon has fielded a settled side for most of Celtic's big games this season so I wouldn't expect him to deviate much from the line-up that started against Lazio. Ryan Christie should get the nod ahead of Tom Rogic for the playmaker role and it was the Scot who headed Celtic's equaliser at Easter Road.
Scott Allan catches the eye for a Hibees scorer as he goes up against his old club. The midfielder, who sparked the midweek comeback with a penalty, is 5/1 to net at any time with William Hill, which seems overpriced.
This Scottish League Cup match between Hibernian and Celtic will be played on Nov 2, 2019 and kick off at 17:00