Celtic have been putting cash in the pockets of lucky punters for years; get on the Celts and you know you’ve got a great chance of winning. It’s a rare occasion when the Hoops let down the gambling community – like when they were beaten 2-1 by Saturday’s visitors Aberdeen back in September.
But it remains the Parkhead side’s only League defeat this season and while Celtic have also dropped a couple of points in drawn games, they’re on a roll towards their fifth successive Championship. There’s more chance of me getting a date with Bollywood star Vidya Balan than the Glasgow side blowing their title chances.
Will the Dons be able to pull off another surprise on their visit to Parkhead? I very much doubt it. Ronny Deila’s Bhoys will be gunning for revenge and looking to stretch their lead to seven points of the second-placed North-Eastern side.
Celtic booked themselves a spot in the League Cup semi finals with a 2-1 win at Hearts on Wednesday evening, but success came at a price with Scott Brown and Gary MacKay-Steven getting injured during the pre-match warm up. The pair will have to be assessed by the medical team before Saturday’s game.
In the League, Celtic have won their last three on the bounce, netting eight times and conceding just once. They have the capability of doing just enough to win a game, or of turning on the style and going for a real demolition job. Top scorer Leigh Griffiths has banged in nine times already this season but they’re flying in from all over the pitch as the side have totalled up 31 goals so far this term, conceding just 9 times.
You don’t need hunches or gambling instincts when you’re backing Celtic. Their complete dominance of Scottish football since the demise of rivals Rangers has seen them become almost a banker bet.
If anything, Derek McInnes’ Dons can but hope that some complacency sets into the hosts play – but I can’t see that happening and if the Celts score early, they could really go for the jugular.
Aberdeen’s miserable run was eased slightly by the weekend draw with Motherwell but they’re far from out of the hole that four successive defeats before that – including defeat at Championship side Hibs in the League Cup – has put the Reds in. And Celtic Park isn’t the place where you can go full of belief that you’re going to turn over the defending Champions.
The game kicks of early and is going out live on the Sky cameras so Celtic will want to put on a convincing display, knowing that a comprehensive victory over their nearest challengers would put real pressure on the chasing pack to keep pace.
Celtic’s Croatian centre back Jozo Simunovic had been missing through injury but has returned to action and Emilio Izaguirre is back following the training ground bust-up that left him requiring stitches. The Dons are injury and suspension free, baring any training ground knocks or niggles.
If Aberdeen do manage to pull off something at Parkhead – and to be honest, I doubt it - where are we going for that date then, Vidya? McDonald’s OK with you? Or would you rather we blow my winnings from a Celtic victory at somewhere just a little classier? The odds on offer reflect the bookies also feel Celtic will take the points with the Dons anything up to 6/1 to pull off a surprise.
Celtic Stats W9 D2 L1
Recent Form WDWWWW
Aberdeen Stats W8 D1 L3
Recent Form WLLLLD
12/09/2015 Aberdeen 2 Celtic 1
10/05/2015 Aberdeen 0 Celtic 1
01/03/2015 Celtic 4 Aberdeen 0
09/11/2014 Aberdeen 1 Celtic 2
13/09/2014 Celtic 2 Aberdeen 1
Celtic (4-2-3-1) Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Simunovic, Boyata, Izaguirre, Forrest, Johansen, Commons, Armstrong, Griffiths.
Aberdeen (4-2-3-1) –Ward, Quinn, Reynolds, Taylor, Considine, Flood, G. Shinnie, McGinn, McLean, Hayes, Goodwillie.
Celtic: S. Brown (inj), MacKay-Steven (inj)