Kilmarnock vs CelticScottish Premiership, KO: 16:30 Aug 9, 2020, Rugby Park
CELTIC made an impressive start to their bid for 10-in-a-row last weekend but face a sterner test of their title credentials with this tricky trip to Kilmarnock.
The champions returned to competitive action by thrashing Hamilton 5-1 at Parkhead, a convincing win that brought up my Tasty Treble last weekend.
Neil Lennon's men quickly hit their stride, with Odsonne Edouard helping himself to a hat-trick, but Rugby Park is one of the toughest venues in Scotland to visit.
Rangers have seen their title hopes hit the skids with defeats in Ayrshire in the last two seasons while Killie also beat the Hoops twice at Rugby Park when Steve Clarke was in charge.
Clark's assistant Alex Dyer is now calling the shots at Kilmarnock but his first full season in charge started with a 2-1 defeat at Hibs last weekend.
His side played pretty well though and Dyer will no doubt lean on the blueprint crafted by Clarke that has caused both halves of the Old Firm so much trouble.
Kilmarnock's plastic pitch is also a factor but Lennon seems to know how to grind out a win on it better than his predecessor Brendan Rodgers, who refused to alter his possession-based style of play.
When Lennon took the Hoops to Ayrshire with the heat on last season he masterminded a 3-1 win and the Parkhead boss will be looking for a repeat of that display here.
How the bookies view it
I'm surprised to see Kilmarnock as big as 11/1 with Bet365 given they have won two of their last four home games with Celtic. Even the draw is 5/1 with Betfred while Celtic offer little value at a best 2/7 with the same firm.
Backing the Hoops with both teams to score might be the way to go at 2/1 with BetVictor. Hamilton got a bit of joy against Lennon's defence last week while full-backs Jeremie Frimpong and Greg Taylor are vulnerable in the air.
Recent head to head
Celtic won all three matches with Kilmarnock by the same 3-1 scoreline last term. A repeat here pays 21/2 with BetVictor if you are looking for a decent long-odds option.
That made it six victories in a row against Killie but the Hoops failed to win any of the four games prior to that, with the Rugby Park men winning 1-0 and 2-1 (below) at home.
Players to watch
Edouard was the main man last weekend and scored four against Killie last season but the Frenchman doesn't offer great value for a goal here at a best 5/6 with BetVictor.
Centre backs have scored for the Hoops in three of their last four games against Kilmarnock. Christopher Jullien twice came close from set-pieces against Hamilton so is a good long-odds shout here at 6/1 with Paddy Power for anytime scorer.
Celtic looked weak in the air last weekend with David Moyo causing plenty of problems and Killie's Nicke Kabamba might get a bit of joy here. The big striker is 4/1 with Paddy Power for a goal.
Anything else catch the eye?
There has been a one-goal winning margin in three of the last four meetings between these sides at Rugby Park so it could pay to back a repeat at 21/10 with Betway.
The last three games between these sides in Ayrshire have seen 10 corners or more so the 23/20 BetVictor are offering on over 10.5 corners looks decent value.
With so many set-pieces we could see a header being scored and that's priced 13/10 at William Hill.
This Scottish Premiership match between Kilmarnock and Celtic will be played on Aug 9, 2020 and kick off at 16:30. Check below for our tipsters best Kilmarnock vs Celtic prediction.