BRENDAN RODGERS has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time as Celtic boss and three in a row would turn a mini crisis into a full-blown one.

Hearts and AEK Athens took the Hoops’ scalp and next up to have a go are Partick Thistle who are 12-1 at McBookie to cause a seismic shock.

Just when we were starting to see some league form the powers that be have hit us with a Betfred Cup card.

The last-16 ties are usually played in midweek but at least for punters they are easier to call than the Challenge Cup.

Thistle are back in the Championship so it’s a big day for them but class should tell and I expect the Hoops to get back on track and stay on course for a potential treble treble by reaching the last eight.

Celtic are 1-4 at Marathonbet so for value take -1 at 7-10 with Ladbrokes and consider Celtic and over 2.5 goals at 3-4 with Ladbrokes.

The Parkhead side have won nine in a row at Firhill and netted at least two on eight of those matches.

I wouldn’t pick a first scorer until teams are revealed but if Moussa Dembele starts – he was a threat when he came on in Greece – back him at 13-5 with McBookie with Odsonne Edouard ruled out.

Tie of the round is tomorrow’s meeting between Killie and Rangers and I’m sure the home men will test Steven Gerrard’s side on the Rugby Park plastic.

Killie beat Gers at home last season and have started the season well with four points in two games.

Games are coming quick and fast for Gers and they are no bigger than 4-5 with McBookie to win.

Some will be tempted by Killie at 7-2 with bet365 but Killie draw no bet is less risky at 5-2 and I could see Clarke leading his men to a point as Gerrard will have one eye on Thursday's Europa League play-off with Ufa.

Kris Boyd is 19-4 with McBookie to net first against his former side – 9-5 at any time while for Rangers I’d consider centre-half Nikola Katic to score at 10-1 with McBookie.

Hibs also return to domestic action after their disastrous trip to Molde and are 1-2 at Ladbrokes to beat relegated Ross County at Easter Road.

Exiting Europe was a blow but I’m on Neil Lennon's attack-minded side to beat County with more than 2.5 goals in the match at 5-4 with Ladbrokes.

Aberdeen, boosted by the signing of James Wilson from Man United, should see off St Mirren at 4-9 with Betway and a confident Hearts can win at Dunfermline even without Kyle Lafferty.

The Premiership leaders are 8-11 at Betway so best bet is both to score at 10-11 with Paddy Power.

If there’s going to be a shock – and there’s usually one – it could be at Dens where Dundee entertain Championship fast starters Ayr.

Ian McCall’s men dazzled in the group stage and started their Championship return with victory against Partick and a draw at Inverness.

With Lawrence Shankland banging in the goals Ayr look overpriced against a side with no points from two Premiership outings.

Ayr are 5-1 at bet365 and 11-8 at bet365 not to lose which is worth backing. Shankland is 5-1 at McBookie to score first and 19-10 to net at any time.

In League One Arbroath have made a flying start and can make it three wins in a row at a Dumbarton side who flopped at home to Forfar last week.

Arbroath have netted 11 goals in three games and are 2-1 with bet365 or alternatively 11-8 at bet365 to net two or more.

My League Two antepost picks Clyde are a big price at 23-10 with McBookie at Peterhead. Clyde have started well and should at least avoid defeat at 4-5 with Betway.

Recommended Bets

  • Celtic & over 2.5 goals (12.30pm)
  • Dunfermline v Hearts btts
  • Killie draw no bet (Sun)
  • Ayr +1
  • Shankland to score
  • Arbroath
  • Montrose
  • Clyde
  • Elgin -1

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