Celtic v St Mirren
Kick Off: Saturday 15th December, 3pm
It will surprise a few people that in the league Celtic have actually only claimed 1 point from their last 3 home games played, but it’s a fact that oddly they have been much better away from home this season.
I’m sure that Neil Lennon will have noticed this and will want to put it right and what better opponents to improve the home record than St Mirren. This is not a venue where the Paisley men get much success at all with just 1 draw to show for themselves in their last 13 visits to the east end of Glasgow. Indeed St Mirren have failed to score against Celtic in their last 7 attempts (home & away) losing all matches with an embarrassing aggregate score of 20-0!
So in all honesty I can see St Mirren taking a bit of a hiding here tomorrow, providing Celtic put out a full team as they again had to play a cup replay midweek. The bookies do not have much faith in St Mirren either with best odds of 17/1 (Betfair) available for an unlikely away win. I imagine big hitters will fancy a bit of the 1/4 (William Hill) that is available on a Celtic win though.
Looking ahead to the game, Celtic will be without the services of Kris Commons and James Forrest which may restrict the natural width they have when the two play, so expect them to be heavily weighted down the left hand side with Izaguirre, Ledley and Mulgrew all expected to start. They have a doubt about Matthew’s fitness who took a slight knock after scoring in the cup game but Lennon hopes his solid right back will make the match.
St Mirren will again be without the injured McGregor and McGowan but their biggest miss will be the suspended centre half Lee Mair.
For me it is in midfield where Celtic will dominate this match, Scott Brown had a fantastic game in the cup and with big Wanyama along side him that is the strongest pairing in the SPL at the moment.
Gary Hooper should be able to expose St Mirren at the back with his pace and power, especially with the absence of Lee Mair. Again I will be expecting Izaguirre and Matthews to be playing more as wingers in this match and this proved very effective against Kilmarnock in their last league match where the quality of Matthew’s crossing lead to the third goal being scored by Samaras.
I’m very confident Celtic will win this game as all the need to do is keep Thompson and Guy quiet and let their attacking players do the rest, it should also be quite comfortable so I am willing to take on the asian handicap of -2 goals for Celtic which pays 23/20 (BetVictor).
A side bet which I shall also be playing, basically in each game till he scores, is Celtic defender Efe Ambrose to score at anytime at 8/1 (Ladbrokes). Sounds a bit crazy but I have been watching him closely in games and he is a defender who really does like to come forward and not just at set plays, he reminds me a little of Chelsea’s Ivanovic who is a high scoring defender always with an eye for goal.
Ambrose has just 1 goal to his name in 11 starts for Celtic but that is not a true reflection on the amount of opportunities he has had. I have seen him hit the post numerous times and I feel it is just a matter of time before he scores again, so for me the odds are worth taking.
Prediction : Celtic 4-1 St Mirren
Celtic to cover the -2 Asian Handicap 23/20 (BetVictor)
Small bet on Efe Ambrose anytime scorer 8/1 (Ladbrokes)