SCOTTISH football bible Willie Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) is back with his best bet for Saturday’s Old Firm clash.
Celtic v Rangers | Saturday 12:00 | Sky Sports 1
It was apparently Albert Einstein who said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Of course, Einstein was not referring to football matches between Rangers and Celtic, although those words may go some way to explaining why Celtic fans are looking forward to Saturday’s showdown between the bitter rivals at Ibrox with more relish than their Rangers counterparts.
The Hoops have won four of the previous five matches between the teams thus far this season, with their most recent victory coming just last weekend – a supremely comfortable 2-0 win in the Scottish Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park.
You don’t need to be Einstein, either, to work out why the Hoops are strong favourites to take all three points in Govan; Rodgers’ side are unbeaten in 41 matches in domestic competition so far this season and they have a mammoth 33 point lead over Rangers in the league.
The Gers are nine points adrift of second placed Aberdeen in the standings with just five games remaining and, so, barring a sensational end to the campaign, Pedro Caixinha’s charges are set to settle for the bronze medal in the Scottish Premiership this season.
Rangers desperate to land a blow
That is not to suggest that the home team have nothing to play for; the Rangers fans are desperate to take the accolade of being the first team to inflict domestic defeat on Brendan Rodgers’ team this season and, perhaps, the players will feel that they owe the fans one, having performed poorly in the fixture thus far this term.
Celtic’s attacking options are slightly diminished, for the ever-dangerous Moussa Dembele limped off during the first half at Hampden last weekend and he will almost certainly miss out; Leigh Griffiths, though, is a more than able deputy and, with Cup final places at stake, the former Hibernian striker will be desperate to remind Rodgers of his goal-scoring prowess.
The gulf between these teams has been great this season and it was in evidence again last weekend at Hampden Park, particularly in the first 30 minutes where, had it been a boxing match, the referee would have been tempted to stop it, so vast was Celtic’s superiority.
It is tempting to back the Hoops to take all three points, but the odds-on quotes are restrictive and better value may lie in siding with Rodgers’ men in the handicap market instead.
It was a selection that paid dividends when these teams met last weekend and, so, taking a leaf out of Einstein’s book in anticipating a similar outcome could well reap rewards yet again this weekend.
Rangers v Celtic – Celtic -1 handicap (29/20 Coral)