Sat 29 Dec 2012 – Scottish Premier League – KO 3pm
Hibs are doing their usual…..storming start to the league up till around Christmas and then free fall.
It all started up in Inverness with a thumping 3-0 defeat then losing from a 2-0 lead against Motherwell and topped off with a home defeat to Ross County on Boxing Day. Things are likely to get worse for them too if the expected player exits happen when the transfer window opens up at the start of 2013. Lets face it without Griffiths they could start to really struggle.
Hibs have not won at home to Celtic for over 4 years and have lost the last 6 home fixtures to Celtic in a row, strangely they normally give a better account of themselves when they travel to Glasgow. It’s going to be tough for the Edinburgh team as Celtic have quiet a formidable away record this season having lost just once, with 7 wins and 2 draws.
Hibs will have a full squad to choose from with both Clancy and Deegan returning to the team on Boxing Day. Celtic, however, are starting to pick up a number of injuries to key players but are fortunate to just about have a large enough squad to cover it. With Forrest, Mulgrew, Matthews, Commons, Stokes and Ledley all sidelined you would have to say though that they are slightly understrength as most of these players I would consider as starting XI players. So Lennon will need to shuffle the pack a little but I think we are likely to see a similar team to the one he put out on the Boxing Day victory at Dundee probably with Lustig coming in at right back as Matthews is injured.
Unsurprisingly most sports book’s have Celtic down as short odds favourites to win this match with the best price available being a little skinny in my opinion at 4/9 (Coral). Hibs fans will remember that they have actually drawn 2 of the last 3 games against Celtic, albeit at Celtic Park, but if you fancy a draw 19/5 (BetVictor) is an attractive price. With 8/1 (BetVictor) on offer for a Home win.
I am tempted by the 19/20 (William Hill) for Both Teams to Score, as I always feel Leigh Griffiths can score a goal in a game from nothing but I’ve been put off by the fact that Celtic have won their last 4 games to nil and Hibs failed to score in their last run out.
The bet that I have selected for this match is a “Highest Scoring Half” bet. I have taken the 2nd half to be the highest scoring half at 11/10 (Betfred) as I can see there being a few Christmas cob webs to be blown off in the 1st half of this match and think it will start slowly. Hibs have the players now to put in a battling performance with the likes of Deegan and Cairney in midfield and a big physical defence which may prove hard for Celtic to break down. Ultimately I think Celtic will win this match by a couple of goals but I am banking on them only showing their dominance in the later stages.
Hibs 1-3 Celtic
The 2nd Half to be the highest Scoring @ 11/10
NB : As usual I will also be placing a side bet on Efe Ambrose anytime scorer @ 9/1 (Ladbrokes) I’m telling you his goal is coming any week now……….