Neil Lennon announced his return to Celtic with a dramatic late winner over Hearts. Even Lennon himself couldn’t have scripted a better start, can he go one better and knock his former employers out of The Scottish Cup?
A game full of unpredictability
In recent years Hibs have found themselves being a bit of a bogey team for Celtic. The last meeting between the two saw a 2-0 win for the champions, but prior to that we’ve seen a real mix of results between these two. Their last six meeting have seen two Hibernian wins, one draw and three victories for Celtic.
Lennon’s appointment as Celtic manager has turned this game in to one that now carries even more meaning and expectation. Regardless of the upheaval at Parkhead over the past few days, the treble treble is still just as realistic as it was under Brendan Rodgers guidance. Now Lennon can be the man to deliver it and you cab guarantee there’s not one man in the world who’s hungrier to do so.
What do the stats say?
Hibs have won their last four in all competitions, with their last defeat coming in early February to Saturday evening’s opponents. The Hibees showed their character to come through a tough game away at St. Johnstone on Wednesday night, where they had to play the last 25 minutes with 10 men. This didn’t stop them taking all three points though, as Marc McNulty’s double saw them run out as 2-1 winners.
One thing you can normally guarantee with Hibs is goals. Outside of the top three they are the highest scorers in the league this season, netting 42 goals in their 28 SPL matches. Factor in their new golden boy Marc McNulty and they’re a very dangerous proposition, even for a side as strong as Celtic. McNulty has five in his last three appearances, if you fancy him to get himself on the scoresheet again he is priced at 9.5 to score first and 3.75 anytime.
You probably don’t need told how well Celtic have been doing since the turn of the year. In the league they have won their last eight matches in a row, they’ve helped themselves to 20 goals and have conceded only two in the process. Even by their own standards, that is quite incredible. Their movements in the January transfer window has made their attack even stronger, Timothy Weah looks dangerous every time he comes on the pitch but the real star has been Oliver Burke. The scot is the bookies favourite for a goal on Saturday, he’s at 5.0 first and 2.1 anytime. James Forrest has some real value if you’re looking to back a goal scorer, he has been central to everything good about Celtic this season and at 3.25 to score anytime you could really get some bang for your buck.
Hibs won’t be rolled over
Celtic have stormed through the Scottish Cup in recent years and this season has been no exception. Their love affair with this competition just will not fade; The Hoops have scored at least twice in their last 12 Scottish Cup outings and in their past five they haven’t conceded a single goal. But with Lennon still feeling his way back in and working out his squad, Hibs could see this as a better time than ever to be taking on the champions especially when you factor in their own excellent form. With the added quality up front, Hibs have stepped up their attacking threat in recent weeks and have scored at least two in every game since their league defeat to Celtic. They’re available at a price of 1.5 to score one or more goals in the match.
Celtic to win and both teams to score @ 3.1
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.65
Marc McNulty to score anytime @ 3.75
Handicap draw +1 @ 3.3