IT doesn’t matter where you’re from or who you support, everyone associated with the game of football loves a Cup competition for the undoubted drama they provide and the pure passion and intensity of the occasion.
It’ll be no different when Scottish giants Celtic take on Motherwell in the 2018 Scottish Cup Final, with both teams looking to bring home the trophy for their adoring supporters come the full-time whistle on May 19.
Celtic’s dominance in Scotland has been met with little resistance from their competitors, particularly in the case of bitter rivals Rangers who, after climbing back up through the leagues following their collapse, are still some way behind Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Aberdeen have been ahead of Rangers in that respect, currently occupying second place in the SPL table, but whether they can maintain their push and keep closing the gap on Celtic remains to be seen.
With the resources Rangers have at their disposal, they’d probably be favourites to catch-up with Celtic in
the coming years, you’d think. Then again, the recent sacking of caretaker manager Graeme Murty leaves things looking a little bit uncertain at the Gers once again.
Motherwell, who themselves are more than 30 points behind Celtic in the league, will be heavy underdogs for the Final in May. Any domestic opponent will be when facing off against a side so dominant in the Scottish game.
A brief look at their goalscoring statistics tell you the uphill task Motherwell face, with Celtic scoring 32 more goals in the league this season than their opponents from North Lanarkshire.
The underdog tag Motherwell will be given won’t bother them in the slightest. The Steelmen will bring a huge following with them, singing their hearts out and, should Celtic have an off-day, which is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility, Motherwell will be looking to capitalise with their passionate support behind them.
Currently 11/2 to win the trophy, which could, of course, change, the odds are stacked firmly against Well, but the footballing gods could be firmly with them, judging by the amount of Cup shocks they’ve served up to the public on many occasions, in many different countries.
Celtic, on the other hand, are strong favourites, and could be backed for free with a number of bookmakers offering online betting offers. BetVictor have the Bhoys priced at 1/5 for the win, with Bet365 pricing them at 1/9. Put simply, Brendan Rodgers’ team are expected to walk it and claim their back-to-back trebles.
This all comes off the back of a beautiful, title-sealing 5-0 win against their bitter rivals Rangers (William Hill are 25-1 for Celtic to trounce Motherwell by that same 5-0 scoreline). Club captain Scott Brown spoke of his delight after the full-time whistle and looked ahead to the big final against Motherwell at Hampden Park.
He said: “There is a lot more work ahead with a Cup Final to come. We’re going to a warm weather training camp so we’ll be looking forward to that. There are places up for grabs in a Cup Final now so everyone will be wanting a chance and I’m sure the gaffer will rest a couple here and there. It’s all about our willingness to win now, to keep producing that form.”
After beating the Gers on their way to the title, Brown added: “It’s lovely, the way we did it in the sunshine in front of our own fans by beating Rangers. It was all about our own performance.”
Whatever the outcome on May 19, as with all Cup Finals, the game is a mouthwatering prospect. Will there be a huge shock on the cards? Over to you, Motherwell.