Motherwell welcome Celtic to Fir Park on Saturday at midday as the pair do battle in the Scottish Premiership for the first time this season. When they last faced off, it was this weekend’s visitors who came away with three points in a game which finished 4-1 at Celtic Park. Motherwell are still looking for their first win of this campaign and this provides an excellent opportunity to find it.
Motherwell’s summer was dominated by League Cup fixtures, all of which they were victorious in. First it was Queen of the South, then Greenock Morton and Dumbarton. They scored a total of seven goals in that time, conceding zero, while their last outing of July came on home soil versus Annan Athletic by four goals to nil thanks to strikes from Liam Polworth and James Scott, as well as a brace from Liam Donnelly. Last weekend they opened their Premiership account with a goalless draw at Livingston in a rather dull affair.
Defending champions of the last eight seasons, Celtic, were unbeaten throughout July and picked up some vital results in their Champions League qualifiers. The elimination of FK Sarajevo was succeeded by a matchup with Nomme JK Kalju, where Neil Lennon’s men were winners 7-0 on aggregate. Last Saturday they won by seven goals to nil in normal time against St. Johnstone, sending a message to the rest of the league that they’re stopping at nothing to get title number nine on the trot.
Jake Carroll will be suspended for this clash, while Craig Tanner, Christy Manzinga and Barry Maguire are doubts due to injury. David Turnbull should return to action sometime in January of next year. New signing Manzinga will be disappointed to see his beginning to the season with his new side disrupted by injury, however Chris Long and James Scott are more than ready to fight for their spot ahead of the attacker. The strikers will be hoping to get on the scoresheet in this one before manager Steve Robinson replaces them with the Belgian 24-year-old.
Celtic will have a fair amount of absentees on Saturday, with Jozo Simunovic watching from the stands or at home as he’s suspended. Vakoun Issouf Bayo, Tom Rogic, Kouassi Eboue, Jack Hendry and Daniel Arzani are unlikely to start too, although Eboue may make an appearance having trained this week. Ryan Christie played out of his skin at the weekend just gone by, netting a hat-trick, and the 24-year-old will be aiming to repeat that feat here in his bid to remain as top-scorer at the club. Odsonne Edouard is another who’ll be seeking the net, while new signing Christoper Jullien is looking to make a first start.
The hosts would love nothing more than to get their first three points of 2019/20 over the reigning champions, however we simply can’t see that happening in this one. Celtic are far too strong in virtually every area of the field and with fierce competition for places, they’re on fire right now. We’re expecting a wide margin of victory in favour of Lennon’s side, and @ 5.50 you can get Celtic to win by three goals as our first tip.The away team have a solid back line, particularly with former Toulouse defender Jullien amongst the ranks, so @ 2.05 we’re going for Celtic to win and BTTS “No” as our second tip here. Having bagged three times on Saturday last week, Christie will be brimming with confidence. The star-man is @ 2.30 to score anytime this time around.