Hearts can leapfrog Kilmarnock with an unlikely win here after the Ayrshire dropped points against Livingston. Celtic will want to maintain their healthy distance from Old Firm rivals Rangers.
Hearts v Celtic
Wednesday 27th February, 19:45
SPFL Premier League
Hearts could move up the league…
Hearts will rue their missed chance to move up the league as they were held to 1-1 draw against St Mirren at the weekend. Hearts are still only two points behind Kilmarnock who are in fourth place, but would need to beat league leaders Celtic to overtake them. Hearts have been somewhat of a bogey team for Celtic after putting a halt to Celtic’s unbeaten league run earlier this season after a 1-0 home win.
Craig Levein will go into this match as huge underdogs but won’t feel like his side can’t get anything from this. Given that his side have already defeated Celtic earlier on in the season and his side have only lost once in eight home matches in all competitions. Also his side have been evidently stronger when they’ve played in front of their home fans at Tynecastle. They have only lost three times in fourteen home games and won seven.
When it comes to goals, Hearts may have only scored seventeen at home, which is the lowest of any team in the top half of the league, but they have only conceded nine at home which is a stat which has only been bettered by Rangers and Celtic this season. Hearts have only failed to score on four occasions at home.
In terms of the side’s discipline in the last five matches, Hearts are likely to pick up a few yellow cards in this match with Celtic. In the last five matches, Hearts have picked up one-hundred and five booking points which averages out to around twenty-three booking points per game. The midfielder, Arnaud Djoum, as contributed to thirty of these booking points.
A Celtic win would put pressure on Rangers…
Celtic are currently eight points clear of their Old Firm rivals, Rangers. With a win at Tynecastle on Wednesday they could increase the distance to eleven points if Rangers fail to pick up points against Dundee. Celtic come into this match off the back of the disappointment of crashing out of the Europa League on Thursday and a straightforward 4-1 home win against Motherwell on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers will have few complaints for how this season has gone so far, one gripe he would have, however, would be his side’s away form. At home, his side have won each and every game, but away from home he’s lost four and drew three in thirteen matches. In the last six away league games, Celtic have lost twice, drew once and won three.
A reason for this fallibility away from home in the league is the fact his team’s average goal rate decreases from 2.93 to 1.77 and the team’s average goals conceded increases from 0.36 to 0.77.
Celtic will need to be cautious over the amount of yellow cards that the pick going by their previous matches. In the last five matches, Celtic have picked up one-hundred and forty booking points which averages out to twenty-eight per game.
Both sides with key absences…
Hearts will be without the full backs; Michael Smith and Demetri Mitchell due to a muscle injury and a cartilage injury respectively. Peter Haring returned from injury against St Mirren, at the weekend, picking up an hour’s worth of game time. Celtic will be without their defender, Filip Benkovic who picked up an injury against Hamilton in late January. Attacking midfielder, Tom Rogic still remains injured due to a long term knee injury.
Feisty encounter expected…
Due to their league leader status, Celtic go into this as 1/2 favourites to win the match. Hearts have been given odds of 9/2 to pull off a shock win on Wednesday. I feel that there is not a lot of value in betting on a Celtic win, especially when Hearts have shown themselves to be a capable side when playing at home. If you are betting on the match result of this match, I would go for a Hearts win or draw which is priced at 7/5.
I believe that there is far more value in the goal and both teams to score markets for this game. For their to be over 2.5 goals in the match you can get odds of 4/5. For both teams to score you can get odds of 17/20.
Another avenue to explore for value in this match is the cards market. Due to the amount of cards that Hearts and Celtic have accumulated, I would go for over forty booking points which is priced at 1/2. Another card bet to consider is there to be between twenty-five and forty-five booking points in the match which has odds of 7/4. I would also consider taking a bet of Arnaud Djoum to be booked as he has picked up three yellow cards in Hearts’ last five matches. For this to occur, you can get odds of 9/4.
Arnaud Djoum to be booked (9/4)
Over 2.5 goals (4/5)
Both Teams to Score (17/20)