Kilmarnock vs CelticScottish Premiership, KO: 12:00 Dec 10, 2023, Rugby Park
CELTIC will be out for Rugby Park revenge as they head to Kilmarnock on SPFL Premiership duty looking to avenge the defeat that knocked them out of the League Cup back in August.
When Brendan Rodgers was first in the dugout at Parkhead he had a perfect record in Scottish tournaments, lifting every trophy he contested before jumping ship for Leicester City in 2019.
But within three games of his Hoops return, hopes of another Treble had already evaporated, with Killie claiming a deserved 1-0 victory as Celtic toiled on the plastic pitch.
Another target for the Irishman in his second spell was improving results in Europe yet the Champions League has brought more misery for Rodgers and his side are already condemned to an early exit with one group game still to play.
The priority now is keeping a resurgent Rangers at bay and Celtic are eight points clear at the top of the Premiership, although they have played a game more than their rivals.
The Hoops looked back to their best as they cruised to a 4-1 win over Hibernian at home, bringing up two bets for our man Mark. But they now face a tough game against a Kilmarnock side buoyed by their superb 1-0 win at Aberdeen on Wednesday night.
Killie have been fantastic at home this season, with both sides of the Old Firm coming a cropper at Rugby Park. Their three-game winning run at Rugby Park ended with a defeat to Hearts last weekend but Derek McInnes' men bounced back with that midweek victory at Pittodrie.
That has left them sitting inside the top six, seven points clear of the drop zone, and McInnes will be confident of shocking Celtic again after watching the Hoops turn in some unconvincing displays of late.
How the bookies view it
Despite that League Cup win over Celtic in Ayrshire earlier this season, Kilmarnock are rank outsiders for a repeat at 15/2 with QuinnBet. The best price for the SPFL Premiership champions is just 2/5 at Coral while the draw pays 5/1 at Bet365.
Recent head to head
The Rugby Park plastic pitch has been treacherous for Celtic throughout the years, although Ange Postecoglou had the Hoops purring on it as they won 5-0 and 4-1 on his two visits. Rodgers has a much poorer record there, though, with that 1-0 cup loss his third defeat at Rugby Park as Celtic manager.
Players to watch
Celtic have been looking vulnerable from set-pieces and they conceded terrible goals from corners against both Motherwell and St Johnstone. Hibs also came close from a corner in midweek so it could pay to have a speculative punt on a Killie defender scoring here. Stuart Findlay is as big as 28/1 at SkyBet while Robbie Deas is even bigger at 33/1 with the same firm.
Rodgers has a dilemma up front after Oh Hyeon-gyu made the most of a rare start up front by scoring twice in midweek against Hibs. The Korean looks a better fit for his manager's system than star striker Kyogo Furuhashi who lacks the physical presence to play as a link man. With Killie likely to defend deep on a bad pitch, it would make sense to stick with Oh and he's 7/5 with Bet365 for anytime scorer.
Anything else catch the eye?
Celtic have been a machine for corners of late, winning 11 or more in every domestic game since their 0-0 draw at Hibs in late October. I've cashed in a few times by backing corners in their matches and we should see more here as McInnes will probably play for set-pieces, knowing the Hoops are looking shaky when defending them.
Over 10 match corners looks good at 10/11 with Bet365 while the same firm are offering 13/10 on over five first-half flag kicks. Backing the Hoops at -3 in the corner handicap could also play off at 11/10.
We've seen nine cards across the two meetings so far this season and that's another market worth looking at. Over 4.5 cards is 6/5 at Bet365 but the prices for players are better, with Kilmarnock's Brad Lyons a tempting 7/5 at Bet365 for a seventh card this season.
This Scottish Premiership match between Kilmarnock and Celtic will be played on Dec 10, 2023 and kick off at 12:00. Check below for our tipsters best Kilmarnock vs Celtic prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.