• Wed 26 Apr, 2017
  • 19:08 BST
  • 15:08 EST (BST-4)
  • 21:08 CEST (BST+2)

Jacko’s Scottish Football Preview

Scotland correspondent Jack Milner previews this weekend’s Scottish football action.
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It was a good weekend for column readers with both Aberdeen and Rangers obliging with the minimum of fuss in the top-flight, and the Gers take their much improved form to Hampden Park at the weekend, renewing the Old Firm in semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have been utterly flawless domestically this term, wrapping-up both the League Cup and the Scottish Premier League with the minimal of fuss however the Hoops stumbled to a 2-2 draw at Ross County on Sunday and are perhaps short enough at 4/9 to complete the treble and put the icing on the cake to a truly remarkable season.

BetVictor make the Hoops the 9/20 favourites to beat Rangers inside the 90 and likewise the odds-on favourites to make it to next month’s final. Celtic are 1/5 to be at Hampden for the Scottish Cup Final, with rivals Rangers 10/3 to repeat last year’s heroics and beat Celtic en-route to a place in the 90.

Rangers needed extra-time, and then penalties, to better their Old Firm rivals at the same stage of the competition 12 months ago and BetVictor are 7/2 that the tie goes beyond the 90 again tomorrow. Rangers are 11/2 to end Celtic’s unbeaten domestic record in tomorrow’s cup semi-final and, with the Gers transformed under new manager Pedro Caixinha, they appear better served than the two previous meetings earlier in the campaign.

Scottish Cup Outright prices from BetVictor

Celtic 4/9

Aberdeen 4/1

Rangers 6/1

Hibernian 12/1

Celtic are likely to be wounded animals after last weekend’s scare at Ross County however, with Brendan Rodgers sure to fire up his Celtic side that are now just five games away from creating history. The Hoops have beaten Rangers n both top-flight encounters thus far, despite conceding in both league games this term, and BetVictor are 21/10 for Celtic to win despite conceding at the other end.

Moussa Dembele has fond memories of Rangers from the 5-1 thrashing of Rangers earlier in the campaign and I can see him getting on the scoresheet at Parkhead. BetVictor make him the 7/2 favourite to open the scoring, 8/11 to net anytime, and 16/1 to once again leave with the match-ball.

Aberdeen are likewise odds-on favourites for the other semi-final and are 4/9 with BetVictor to reach next month’s final and 9/10 to beat Hibernian inside the 90 this afternoon; Neil Lennon’s side 13/8 to reach back-to-back finals after last year’s dramatic 3-2 defeat of Rangers.

The Hibees have been celebrating achieving promotion back to the top-flight and I suspect the Dons to prove too strong for Neil Lennon’s side; back Aberdeen in the double-result market at 2/1 with BetVictor. There is little love lost between both sides but BetVictor make a red card 3/1 to be issued at Parkhead this afternoon, whilst 6/4 for any player to be given his marching orders during tomorrow’s Old Firm derby.

After three wonderful days at Aintree for the Grand National all eyes turn to Ayr for the Scottish equivalent and a maximum field of 30 going forward for this afternoon’s race, and BetVictor betting the race to five places for each way punters. Last year’s winner Vicente (10/1 with BetVictor) is one of three representing Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls but I expect northern trainers to dominate with Sue Smith double-handed with the pair of Vintage Clouds and Blakemount both over-priced at 14/1 and 50s respectively with BetVictor.

Nicholls stablemate Arpege D’Alene (8/1 joint-favourite) has been much stronger in the market than stablemate and last year’s winner Vicente and it will be fascinating to see how the market reacts to today’s forecast good-to-soft ground. Arpege D’Alene, like other joint-favourite Premier Bond for Nicky Henderson, was last seen running in the NH Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and a win for any of the Seven Barrows inmates Premier Bond (8/1), Sugar Baron (14/1) and Leesonsinmilan (28/1).

Good Luck and happy punting

Jacko

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