Celtic are 90 minutes away from creating another slice of Scottish footballing history on Saturday when they face Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park.
Brendan Rodgers led the Parkhead side to an unprecedented ‘Invincible’ season last time around, winning the treble without tasting a domestic defeat.
There have been bumps on the road this time but it remains very hard not to see Celtic hoisting the trophy on Saturday afternoon.
Celtic to be winning HT/FT – 4/6
Motherwell stand between Celtic and the ‘double treble’, a feat that has never been done before in Scottish football.
The Steelmen have served it up to Celtic on occasion this season, twice drawing with them on league duty from three attempts. Both of those results were at Fir Park, where the playing surface is something of a leveller.
Hampden Park has made great strides recently and the pitch on Saturday ought to be near perfect. That, coupled with Celtic’s extra quality, ensures the champions are long odds-on to win the game, so instead I’ll take the 4/6 they can be in front by half-time before winning.
Hampden really has become a home from home for this Celtic squad. Under previous manager Ronny Deila, Celtic lost three of their five games at Hampden, while during Neil Lennon’s tenure they suffered four defeats at the ground. Rodgers has a perfect seven-from-seven at the national stadium.
Over 3.5 cards – 10/17
Motherwell have twice been reduced to 10 men in their games against Celtic this season. They’ll likely want to get physical on Saturday and make a statement in doing so.
Realistically, manager Stephen Robinson will know that a pretty game of football isn’t going to see his side winning the argument. Motherwell must get in Celtic’s faces and make this a battle.
If they do that early doors, the probability of a card being shown to set the tone will rise, so over 3.5 cards in the 90 minutes looks a decent shout.
Celtic to win 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 – 21/10
Motherwell’s tactic will be to frustrate Celtic and Robinson won’t hide from the fact that the better players are in Hoops.
The problem is that isolating the danger isn’t easy. Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic and James Forrest – to name three – all carry a potent threat from deep behind whichever of Mousa Dembele, Odsonne Edouard or Leigh Griffiths gets the nod up top.
Plugging all the potential gaps is going to prove very hard for Motherwell on the wide open spaces that Hampden will offer up for Celtic.
The underdogs are capable of scoring – Celtic showed in their recent routs of Rangers that they’ll cough up chances – but the treble-seekers are likely to have too much firepower.
Scottish Cup final prediction: Celtic to win 3-1 – 10/1
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