After all those highs, Celtic return to Paradise to play host to Hearts, who last week were humbled by Kilmarnock at Tynecastle 3-1, thanks to three goals by former Celtic youngster Cillian Sheridan. While Celtic’s last game in the league saw them down Motherwell 2-0, thanks in part to Englishman Gary Hooper.
The last game between the two sides was back on the 13th May 2012, a five goal demolition of the Jambos at Celtic Park. Hearts may have managed to beat Celtic in cup competitions at Celtic Park in recent years, but in the league you have to go back to the 29th April 2007 for their last win at Celtic Park. On that day, Andy Driver helped the Jambos to a 3-1 victory.
Hearts will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s poor showing at Tynecastle with a much improved performance in Glasgow, while Celtic are looking to quash any hint of European hangover by piling more misery on John McGlynn and his side.
Hearts sit in ninth position in the league and that denotes their start to the season, with only two wins from eight games. As for Celtic, they have played seven games this season in the league and have secured four wins and are unbeaten at home in all competitions this season.
If Hearts secure a victory today they could jump to sixth place in the league, but if Celtic beat the Jambos they will return to the top of the table and with a two point advantage, along with that game in hand.
Our betting partner’s Ladbrokes, are offering odds of 9/1 for Hearts to secure an away win at Parkhead. Although for Hearts fans they could put their money on a draw also at odds of 9/2. Celtic are odds on favourites to secure all three points today at 3/10.
In form Celtic striker, Gary Hooper is 11/4 on to open the scoring at Celtic Park, with Jambos youngster Callum Paterson at 10/1 to bag the first goal.
A European Hangover?
Celtic secured a historic win over Spartak Moscow on Tuesday night, but will they still be recovering from that high and fail to come back down to earth in time for today’s game? They had no such headache last time round after facing Benfica and with the Celtic fans urging them forward at every opportunity, it could be backs to the wall stuff for Hearts all day today. A Hearts side who are relying on Andy Driver to give them a creative spark after the departures of David Templeton and Rudi Skacel.
Adam Matthews is a doubt due to an ankle injury for Celtic, while captain Scott Brown could sit out as he battles back from a hip injury. One thing Brown loves though is continuing his battles against Hearts – he loved them during his Hibees days and he loves them still.
Summer signing Lassad has recovered from a calf injury and had impressed in his first start for Celtic in their 2-0 win over Dundee. He could line up alongside Gary Hooper up front for Celtic, while Georgios Samaras will return on the left flank. Kris Commons, Joe Ledley and Victor Wanyama will make up the midfield for Celtic.
In defence, Efe Ambrose is sure to start alongside Charlie Mulgrew with Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre fill the full back positions.
Fraser Forster, will be buoyed by his England international call up and will look to continue to impress between the sticks for Celtic.
Andy Webster is set to return to the heart of defence for Hearts after three weeks out through back injury. His return is sure to tighten up the Hearts back line, although with a lack of match fitness – Gary Hooper could cause untold problems for the former Rangers man.
There are no other injury worries for Hearts, except for keeper Mark Ridgers who is out long-term.
Prediction: A Celtic victory – it will be a tough game early on for Neil Lennon’s side, but after that first goal goes in there will be no stopping them.
Score: Celtic 3-0 Hearts
In conjunction with our partners Ladbrokes, Scotzine are placing their money on a Celtic victory [3/10 odds], although with the bet on just a win not really worth much, I have gone for a 3-0 win [15/2] and Gary Hooper to score the first goal [11/4].
As a side bet I have placed some money on Gary Hooper to bag himself a hat trick at 9/1, as he searches for that much coveted England call-up.
So if you are looking to place a cheeky wee bet on the game today then click on the graphic ad below. But always remember to gamble responsibly.