Even before a ball is kicked in Sunday’s Scottish Cup final, some pundits maintain that football statisticians would be justified in recording the 2012-13 season as yet another when Celtic completed a league and cup double.
The final between Celtic and Hibs looks such a foregone conclusion that the Hoops’ price has narrowed to 4/9 (Paddy Power) as the Edinburgh team’s odds have continued to drift – they’re now 15/2 (BetVictor.com) to produce what would rank as a significant shock and lift the cup.
Hibs have not won the cup since 1902, though they’ve been runners-up on ten occasions, including last year when they were humiliated in losing 5-1 to their nearest rivals, Hearts. The memory of that defeat could spur them on this time, particularly if Celtic display any sort of complacency.
Browse through results from the pair’s most recent league meetings and it’s clear that Celtic hold an enormous advantage. They’ve won six of the last nine, scoring 20 goals in the process and conceding just five; little wonder that Stan James chalks 5/4 about them winning when kicking off with a one goal deficit on Sunday.
Yet this season, matters have been considerably more equitable – both sides have won one league match apiece, while a third ended with honours even, a record which adds appeal to bet365’s 7/2 for Sunday’s contest to end in stalemate at 90 minutes.
It’s no surprise to see Celtic quoted at 3/1 (Skybet) to enjoy a two-goal margin of victory, nor at 4/11 (Stan James) to register the opening goal. Their even money price (Ladbrokes) to retain a clean sheet does, however, catch the eye as only once in the pair’s last half dozen league meetings have both teams scored.
Note too that Hibs come into this season finale in decent form having won their last three league matches, a run which makes Paddy Power’s 25/1 for them to win the match in extra time appear worthy of further consideration.
Elsewhere, Gary Hooper leads the first goalscorer list (he’s 4/1 with William Hill) and Celtic are just 8/1 (BetVictor.com) to win 3-0, but punters who appreciate that no final is a foregone conclusion may fancy a dabble at bet365’s colossal 20/1 for Hibs to secure a 1-0 victory.
Hibs to beat Celtic 1-0 – 20/1 (bet365)