The Glasgow rivals clash at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final and punters can't see past a Celtic win. Our Scottish football writer Frankie Monkhouse previews the game...
"Three of the last five renewals of this fixture in all competitions have produced under 2.5 goals"
Many Scottish football experts believe Rangers chairman Dave King was wrong to speak about getting his next managerial appointment correct while stand-in gaffer Graeme Murty was still at the helm, but it would've been music to the ears of most fans of the Ibrox club. No coincidence it came around the time the board were asking supporters to renew season tickets.
Since taking over from Pedro Caixinha as boss of Glasgow Rangers Graeme Murty has done a lot of good work to stabilise the blues but stats don't lie in football. He takes his team to Hampden for Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final vs Celtic showing just one win in four Premiership starts, a run that includes defeat vs Celtic and Kilmarnock. Judging by King's comments not even a famous Old Firm win and place in the final could save Murty's job.
Bhoys demand a more exciting brand of football
Celtic have been a shadow of the all-conquering team that went through last season unbeaten in domestic competition, but they've encountered little drama with the League Cup already in the cabinet. Despite failing to win 11 of 33 league starts Celtic are 13 points clear of Rangers and Aberdeen in the top-flight and traders have them nailed-on favourites for another treble. Few would argue against that stance either.
Those loyal to The Bhoys dream of completing the double-treble and, above all else, want a record-breaking 10 league titles in-a-row, but they also pay their season ticket and entrance fee to watch an entertaining brand of football and an ever-increasing number of spectators feel they aren't getting that from Brendan Rodgers' side at the minute. Celtic have suffered nine draws already including two level finishes in their last four.
Punters see no reason to oppose Celtic
Often the formbook can be left in the dressing room when the Old Firm rivals go head-to-head - especially in the latter stages of the cup at Hampden - but punters see no reason to oppose Celtic on the back of that 3-2 league win at Ibrox last month and there's [1.65] available on the Exchange about another Hoops cheer. It's where my money will be going.
The draw can be found trading [3.65] and that's deemed to be a more likely outcome than the Rangers shock at a chunky [5.40]. The 'to qualify' market gives backers a bit more of a safety net with Celtic in the final a [1.25] poke against Rangers' [2.12].
This will be another tense Hampden face-off
The Glasgow rivals broke a recent trend last month when serving up a five-goal thriller in Govan as it came on the back of a couple of nervy affairs, 2-0 Celtic and 0-0. Three of the last five renewals of this fixture in all competitions have produced under 2.5 goals.
That also extends to Old Firm matches in the Scottish Cup at the national stadium. Celtic won 2-0 in April of last year and it was 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes the time before. That game finished 2-2 AET before Rangers won 5-4 on penalties. This should be another tense affair and under 2.5 goals makes sense at 5/4 vs overs at 4/7. You can get 15/8 on Celtic to win to nil.
Back Celtic @ [1.65]
Back Under 2.5 goals @ 5/4 (Sportsbook)