St Mirren vs CelticScottish Cup, KO: 14:00 Feb 11, 2024, SMISA Stadium
A CLOUD of negativity seems to be hanging over Celtic at the moment and St Mirren will fancy their chances of pulling off a Scottish Cup shock when the Hoops head to Paisley.
Brendan Rodgers' side looked to have rediscovered their mojo before the winter break when they signed off with a 3-0 Premiership victory in Paisley after inflicting the first defeat of Philippe Clement's Rangers reign.
But fans and Rodgers himself were crying out for quality additions in the January transfer window and were left distinctly underwhelmed when only Rapid Vienna winger Nicolas Khun and Norwich loanee Adam Idah checked in.
Both the new boys have made an immediate impact, with Khun scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen before Idah's two penalties secured a 2-1 victory away to Hibernian on a frustrating night for our man Mark.
But the team's performances were poor in both games and injuries are mounting up in defence, with Alastair Johnston and Stephen Welsh both being forced off at Easter Road.
Greg Taylor and Cameron Carter-Vickers have also missed the last few matches with injuries so St Mirren will be confident of causing Celtic plenty of problems as they look to reach the quarter-finals.
Stephen Robinson's side are hard to beat at home, with only the Old Firm and Kilmarnock winning in Paisley this season, so I'd be surprised if Celtic eased into the next round.
How the bookies view it
Despite their shaky form, Celtic are massive favourites to qualify at 1/7 with Bet365 who price a win in 90 minutes at 3/10. Backing St Mirren to reach the quarter-finals pays 11/2 at SkyBet while betting on them inside 90 minutes pays 10/1 at William Hill. The full-time draw is priced 11/2 at QuinnBet.
Recent head to head
St Mirren were a thorn in Celtic's side last season as they won 2-0 in Paisley in the Premiership then drew 2-2 at Parkhead. But the Hoops cruised to victory in the other three games, including a 5-1 thrashing in the Scottish Cup at the same stage of the tournament.
The SMISA Stadium hasn't been a particularly happy hunting ground for Celtic of late as they have slipped up there twice in their last four visits.
Players to watch
Celtic often struggle against physical centre forwards so I'd expect Robinson to start with Mikael Mandron up top. The Frenchman's goal in midweek took his tally for the season to eight and he's a tempting 11/2 with Bet365 for anytime scorer.
Rodgers has been chopping and changing his forward line so it's probably safer going with a midfielder for a Celtic goal. Matt O'Riley and Paulo Bernardo offer the biggest threat from the middle of the park and the Portuguese kid is 3/1 with Unibet for anytime scorer.
Anything else catch the eye?
St Mirren let me down when I backed BTTS on Celtic's last visit to Paisley but they did have to play the second half of that game with 10 men after Toyosi Olusanya's red card for catching Joe Hart in the head.
Rodgers's defence looked ropey again when Hibs attacked in midweek and they were fortunate to concede just once. With so many players injured in defence, backing both teams to score looks good value here at evens with 888Sport. Combining that with over 2.5 goals boosts the odds to 6/4 at BoyleSports.
Corners are always a good shout with Celtic and we saw 13 when these sides last faced off. Bet365 are offering 6/5 on over 11 flag kicks for this one and that looks good value.
Most of the action has come after the break in Celtic's last two games and backing the second half for most goals here pays 21/20 at McBookie.
This Scottish Cup match between St Mirren and Celtic will be played on Feb 11, 2024 and kick off at 14:00. Check below for our tipsters best St Mirren vs Celtic prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.