Home Scottish Premiership Killie deserve respect for Parkhead showdown
Killie deserve respect for Parkhead showdown

Killie deserve respect for Parkhead showdown

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Hurtling towards Christmas and it is first against third in the Scottish Premiership as Celtic host Kilmarnock in Glasgow.

Nothing strange in that, other than the fact it is Steve Clarke’s Ayrshire upstarts that travel to Parkhead as league leaders. A remarkable tale for the Killie boss.

Celtic v Kilmarnock, under 2.5 goals @ 11/10

You might call it gradual progression this term from Kilmarnock. They lost at home to Rangers early on, then stunned Celtic at Rugby Park in September, coming from behind to win 2-1.

In October they claimed a valuable point at Ibrox from Steven Gerrard’s side while a poor start to November – losing 2-1 at home to Aberdeen – is long forgotten with three wins in four games and no goals conceded since.

The Wednesday night win over Livingston catapulted Kilmarnock to the top of the standings as Rangers and Celtic stuttered, and rather raised the profile of this trip to Glasgow.

Boss Clarke has been grabbing the headlines since returning to his native land and, arguably, his side are being scorned at 13/1 in the betting.

Killie are currently unbeaten in four games against Celtic, with two wins and two draws. They’ve come away from Glasgow with draws in the last two meetings.

Add in the fact that Celtic have two misfiring forwards in Leigh Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard, and the home win is no foregone conclusion here.

On value, 5/1 about a draw is a decent bet, while given Killie’s reliance on being hard to break down and relative lack of goals, 9/1 about a 1-1 outcome is also potentially profitable.

Hearts went to Glasgow as league leaders last month and were thumped 5-0, owing much to a cavalier approach. Don’t anticipate Steve Clarke’s team to make the same mistake. This should be as tight as the league table suggests.

Hearts to beat Motherwell @ 4/5

Motherwell emerged from their midweek draw with Celtic determined to build on a positive outcome. It was also a fortuitous one, with Celtic having a goal chalked off and missing from the penalty spot whilst leading 1-0.

The Steelmen stuck to their task and got some late reward with a pinged goal from Danny Johnson. Both Johnson and goalkeeper Mark Gillespie admitted afterwards that ‘Well simply haven’t been near consistent enough this term.

Recently they’ve lost 7-1 to Rangers, beaten Aberdeen 3-0 and then lost out at Livingston with a whimper.

They are very tough to predict and they’ve already lost in league and up to Hearts this season. The Jambos are without a win in seven games and badly need a lift, with Motherwell fairly likely to give it to them at Tynecastle.

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Enda McElhinney Our racing expert, Enda studies cards in both England and Ireland on a daily basis and knows all the details you need to know when trying to select a winner. He is also a regular football writer and has strong knowledge of the Scottish game, with golf another specialised sport on his CV.