Celtic have come back from the mid-season break with a bang, hammering Hearts 4-1 last weekend before carding an even more emphatic 4-0 success against Dundee United in midweek.
By contrast, St Mirren returned from the winter hiatus with a whimper, slumping to a 4-1 home reverse against struggling Ross County and on that basis you have to fear for the Buddies as they prepare to face the rampant Hoops in the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final.
Inevitably, Neil Lennon’s charges are strong favourites at 1/3 via Stan James while St Mirren are a 9/1 shot at Skybet to cause an upset and although Buddies boss Danny Lennon insisted this week that miracles do happen, it’s hard to envisage one here.
Indeed, the statistics add weight to the argument that Celtic should rack up a comfortable success. They’ve beaten their Paisley opponents in eight consecutive renewals and remarkably haven’t conceded a single goal in that sequence.
A case can be made for a Bhoys triumph ‘to nil’ then at 6/5 courtesy Ladbrokes and as the SPL leaders are also a decent bet in the handicaps, at 21/20 (Stan James) when kicking off a goal in arrears, correct score punters could do worse than consider a 2-0 victory for Neil Lennon’s men at 6/1 via William Hill.
In-demand Celtic marksman Gary Hooper, a 7/4 chance with BetVictor to sign for Norwich before the transfer window closes, has helped himself to nine goals in seven appearances, hence the interest from south of the border.
Subsequently, while it’s admittedly an unimaginative selection, he’s the man to back in the first scorer betting at 29/10 via BetVictor. Alternatively, Skybet chalk the prolific front man up at 3/1 to notch twice or more, a flutter made more attractive by the fact that Hooper has bagged a brace in each of the Bhoys last two outings.