PATIENCE may be a virtue but it’s in short supply when you play for Celtic or Rangers.
Like a family heading out on the long drive south to Alton Towers, talking about the wonders on offer at the end of the journey will only appease the kids for 30 minutes at best.
Long before the rusty old jalopy gets to Gretna, you’ll need to lob a big bag of swedgers towards the back seat and let them assault your ears with Radio One.
After suffering from travel sickness on day one of the Premiership at Kilmarnock, Michael Beale’s new-look Rangers side managed to drown out some of the grumbles with a midweek win over Servette.
But that 2-1 victory in the Champions League qualifiers felt like a missed opportunity after Gers raced two ahead early on then failed to break down a side who played the final 30 half-hour with 10 men.
Beale’s expensively assembled attack struggled to create chances when the Swiss side sat back after copping that red card.
They also couldn’t find a way through Killie’s well-drilled defence and now face a Livingston side who are always tough to break down.
Livi shut out Aberdeen on day one and if they can get through the first 20 minutes without conceding at Ibrox it could be a tough day for Gers.
I can see Beale’s team racking up plenty of corners as Livingston defend deep so Rangers -5 looks good in that handicap (10/11, Bet365).
Jason Holt will be at the heart of the midfield battle as the Lions star goes up against his old club. He picked up 10 yellows and a red last term so appeals for a card at 6/5 with Bet365.
Borna Barisic’s deliveries from the left are an important attacking weapon for Beale and the Croatian could be worth a punt for an assist at 8/5 with McBookie.
Killie’s surprise win last weekend handed Celtic an early lead in the title race but the champions face a tough hurdle tomorrow in their first away game.
Pittodrie has become a fortress again since Barry Robson took charge and Aberdeen beat Rangers when they last hosted one of the Old Firm.
Celtic shipped two goals at home to Ross County last week and three of their back four – Cameron Carter-Vickers, Maik Nawrocki and Tony Ralston – only managed one pre-season game for the Hoops.
So Aberdeen look overpriced at 8/1 with Ladbrokes, although Brendan Rodgers has enough firepower to make up for Celtic’s shortcomings in defence.
Cards could offer the best value in what can be a fiery fixture and Ralston appeals at 5/1 with Bet365 given the lively Duk could run at him.
Betting against St Johnstone paid off for me last week, although I was made to sweat a little before Hearts broke them down late on.
Saints now head to Dingwall and Ross County appeal at 23/20 (Coral) after playing well in defeat at Celtic.
Simon Murray was deadly for the Staggies in the League Cup groups and looks great value at 12/5 (William Hill) to add to his six-goal tally.
The other game today sees St Mirren host Dundee and I’m surprised to see the Buddies as big as 11/10 at McBookie after their 3-2 win at Hibs on day one.
The Dark Blues were decent in their draw with Motherwell but Saints are strong at home and that is a tempting price.
Hangovers and Edinburgh go hand in hand at this time of year, with folk drowning their sorrows after watching experimental theatre or getting tanked up to heckle comedians. But Hibs and Hearts will be out to avoid feeling queasy tomorrow following big nights in Europe.
The Jambos host Killie and I fancy the half-time draw at 6/5 (McBookie).
Over 2.5 goals looks the shout (21/20, BetVictor) as the Hibees head to Fir Park to take on a dangerous Motherwell side.
- Ralston to be carded (5/1, Bet365)
- Rangers -5 corner h’cap (10/11, Bet365)
- Murray goal (12/5, W Hill)
- St Mirren to win (11/10, McBookie)