The Scottish League Cup takes centre-stage in Scotland this weekend as the top Premiership sides enter the competition. KevMac is on hand to pick out his best bets this weekend.
Celtic v Hearts
WHEN Celtic trooped off the Tynecastle pitch after losing their Premiership opener, it looked like Ange Postecoglou was still a long way from realising his Parkhead vision.
With his side already knocked out of the Champions League and playing catch up to Rangers in the title race, storm clouds were gathering over the new Hoops boss.
But they have been blown away in spectacular style by three emphatic wins and confidence is soaring at Celtic Park as they prepare for a revenge mission against Hearts in the League Cup tomorrow.
The remarkable resurgence has mainly been down to the introduction of new boy Kyogo Furuhashi who has brought a surge of energy and pace to Postecoglou’s attack.
After a brief cameo in that Tynecastle loss the Japanese forward scored on his full debut against Jablonec then followed it up with a hat-trick in the 6-0 mauling of Dundee in the Premiership.
He impressed again in Thursday’s Euro return against Jablonec and is just 9/10 with McBookie for a Parkhead goal tomorrow, although the odds increase to 17/5 for him to break the deadlock.
Hearts will give Celtic a bigger test than the Czechs and Robbie Neilson’s men have started the campaign with six wins in a row.
Despite that fine form, the bookies don’t fancy them to topple Postecoglou’s men again, with a Jambos victory inside 90 minutes priced 15/2 at William Hill while SportNation offer 17/4 on Hearts reaching the next round.
First-half goals have been a feature of Celtic’s matches this season so I also fancy over 1.5 strikes in the opening period at 13/8 with Paddy Power.
There’s some tasty all-Premiership ties today and the pick of the games is Dundee’s clash with Motherwell.
Dundee v Motherwell
Both teams have failed to convince in defence so far with the Dark Blues shipping 10 in their last three games and Well keeping just two clean sheets in six matches.
So I fancy BTTS at 21/20 with Mansionbet while over 2.5 goals also appeals at 23/20 with McBookie. Charlie Adam is Dundee’s creative force and the veteran midfielder is a decent 2/1 at McBookie for an assist.
Livingston v St Mirren
St Mirren’s trip to Livingston is a tough one to call and it’s a repeat of last season’s semi, which the Lions won 1-0.
Ayr United v Dundee United
Dundee United bust plenty of coupons last week with a shock win over champions Rangers and now head to Somerset Park.
Ayr have made a poor start in the Championship, losing to Killie before needing two late goals to salvage a 2-2 draw with Arbroath, so United look good at evens with McBookie for a win inside 90 minutes.
Arbroath v St Johnstone
Holders St Johnstone also have a game on the road against Championship opposition as they face Arbroath.
A trip to Gayfield is a big comedown after a Euro tie with Galatasaray and Dick Campbell’s men might get some joy, making BTTS appealing at 11/10 with McBookie.
Raith Rovers v Aberdeen
Backing both teams to score could also pay off in Kirkcaldy as Raith host Aberdeen. The Dons have kept just one clean sheet all season and BTTS pays evens (SportNation). Over 2.5 goals also looks a decent price at 11/10 with McBookie.
Hibernian v Kilmarnock
Hibs face a test of nerve as they host Kilmarnock off the back of a bruising Euro defeat to Rijeka in Croatia.