With the unprecedented, round-the-clock media coverage of the mess that is Glasgow Rangers Football Club at the moment, it comes as something of a relief that I can today write about them in relation to a football match again.
As the extraordinary saga continues to provide more twists and turns than an episode of Taggart, an Old Firm derby has rarely, if ever, flown under the radar of so many people to the extent that this Sunday’s has.
It took a television advert for live match coverage to shake me from my Duff and Phelps-induced trance and remind me that Scotland’s most famous football fixture was back for round four this weekend, in a tie that has absolutely no meaning to anything in terms of league position, but still means absolutely everything to the people of Glasgow nonetheless.
At odds of 7/2, it is also fair to say that Rangers have never been such considerable outsiders in a derby match in recent memory, if ever.
Yet for all their troubles, Rangers’ recent form has been very good. The Light Blues have won four on the spin (including a 3-2 victory over Celtic at Ibrox in March that denied Neil Lennon’s side the title) and have scored three goals in three of those four wins.
There is nowhere on earth where Rangers’ plight will engender less sympathy than Glasgow’s East End and the Celtic fans will be revelling in the possibility of twisting the knife yet further on their imploding rivals.
Last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Hearts at Tynecastle was impressive by anybody’s standards, let alone for a side still ravaged by injury and mired in controversy.
Nevertheless, playing Celtic at Celtic Park could prove to be one step too far for Ally McCoist’s troubled side.
There is nowhere on earth where their plight will engender less sympathy than Glasgow’s East End and the Celtic fans will be revelling in the possibility of twisting the knife yet further on their imploding rivals.
Celtic won the last derby at Celtic Park in December thanks to a single Joe Ledley strike and they have won the last three home derbies without conceding a goal.
You will get odds of 2/1 on Celtic winning to nil and 21/20 on either one of the two teams drawing a blank this time around.
Celtic have won every single SPL game bar two since November 1st – a run of 21 wins, one draw and just one defeat – and that explains why they are as short as 18/25 to win the game on Sunday, while the draw is on offer at 13/5.
Backing Celtic to win at such short odds is unlikely to yield an exciting return, so many people might be tempted to back them with a one-goal handicap, which will raise the odds to 37/20.
If Rangers fail to score, as they have done on their last three visits to Celtic, this will mean that Celtic will need to score twice for this bet to pay out and that is something they have done in two of the three Old Firm derbies already this season.
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