Celtic set for New Year’s success


Graeme Murty has the distinction of being the only manager in Scotland’s top flight yet to be beaten by Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic side.

Rangers’ interim boss will put that record on the line in the most testing circumstances on Saturday as he takes the Light Blues to Parkhead to face the champions and league leaders.

It is closing in on six years since Rangers won a league game against Celtic. They’ve lost six of seven since Rodgers arrived, the only glimmer of hope coming back in March when Clint Hill netted a stoppage-time leveller in a 1-1 draw as Murty took temporary charge.

Despite a midweek win over out-of-form Motherwell at Ibrox, it is hard to build a case for this Rangers team after they lost back-to-back games against St Johnstone and Kilmarnock before Christmas.

Murty has been given the reins until the end of this season but his team are underdogs at 15/2 for the trip to the East End of Glasgow. Even a draw is 4/1, with Celtic 1/3 to win.

Celtic have responded to their 69-game unbeaten run ending by defeating Partick, Aberdeen and Dundee without conceding a goal. After a thumping defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle, Rodgers suggested Celtic would “reset” and go again, and they’ve certainly done that so far.

There ought to be goals in Saturday’s game and they may flow if the deadlock is broken early on. There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Rangers’ last 13 away games in the Premiership and with 48 (Celtic) and 41 (Rangers) goals scored so far in the league, these teams, by some distance, are the leading scorers in the division.

The Hoops are 7/4 to win with over 3.5 goals scored on Saturday and that appeals as a decent price for this end-of-year Old Firm joust.

Elsewhere on Saturday, it might be worth siding with in-form Kilmarnock in their trip to Easter Road to face Hibs. Steve Clarke has got Killie playing well and no team has bettered their tally of 13 points from six games of late.

Hibs, meanwhile, have managed just one win from five games and are on something of a downer after feeling aggrieved not to win the Edinburgh derby in midweek, so Killie look a bit overpriced at 15/4 for this one.

The bottom two clubs meet at Firhill, with Partick Thistle favoured at 13/10 to get the better of Ross County. They are level on points but, with home advantage and two recent wins on their record, Thistle have the momentum coming into this game and can earn a crucial three points.

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