Celtic Can Rack up the Goals Against Kilmarnock

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The Scottish Premiership games come thick and fast at the start of the season, and it’s already the third round of fixtures over Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Celtic have had their usual efficient start to the season, with two wins from two, and they top the table at this early stage, although they’re joined on six points by Aberdeen and newly-promoted Hearts.

Two of those sides play on Wednesday 12th August, and it’s the champions of last season’s Premiership and Championship that catch the eye. Celtic topped the Premiership table last term and they visit Kilmarnock, who are already up against it after two defeats without scoring a goal have left them rock bottom of the league. Hearts have made an inspired start to life back at the top level, with a pair of wins from their first two games taking them to the dizzy heights of third place. Both sides have a good chance of maintaining the 100% record on Wednesday night, although to back Celtic we’ll have to go looking for goals.

Kilmarnock v Celtic

As ever, the hoops are a ridiculously short price to win a Premiership match, but in this case the odds might be justified against a Kilmarnock side who have already shipped six goals without reply in their opening two games. Here are the standard match odds:

Kilmarnock –  +1600  with SkybetWilliam Hill and Coral

Celtic –  -400  with Paddy Power and Ladbrokes

Draw –  +600  with Skybet and Betfair

Money-buyers might be happy to back Celtic at that sort of price, and they should have few fears about getting a return, but skinny prices aren’t my idea of a good bet, and the value might be in backing Celtic to overcome a hefty handicap:

Celtic -2 Handicap –  +150  with Paddy Power

Celtic boss Ronny Deila has overseen two comfortable 2-0 victories so far this season – an opening day win over Ross County at Celtic Park, and an away day success at Partick Thistle. Assistant manager, John Collins, has found himself in hot water lately after making comments about the standard of opposition players in Scotland, but despite allegations of disrespect, there is an element of truth behind his statements. Since Rangers were demoted through the leagues, the Premiership has been a one-way procession, and the financial might of Celtic will always make it difficult for others to compete.

Kilmarnock will certainly find it difficult even though they’re at home on Wednesday night. Killie finished 9th overall in last season’s Premiership, losing their last four consecutive games, and they have started this campaign in the same vein. Both games have ended in defeat so far – a morale-crushing 4-0 loss to Dundee at home on the opening day, followed by a 2-0 defeat away at Aberdeen last weekend. Coach Lee McCulloch has admitted that he is readjusting expectations as to what would constitute a good result against Celtic, and while he hasn’t run up the white flag just yet, comments like ‘getting the young players out on the pitch to enjoy the experience’, might give some indication of how Killie see this game.

Celtic would have to win by three clear goals to beat the -2 handicap, and that’s a big call, but they’ve beaten Kilmarnock by at least that many on 3 of the last 5 visits here. After conceding six in two games, the writing is on the wall for this young Killie side as they go up against the best team in the land.

Hearts v Motherwell

In the other match we’re tipping on Wednesday night, Hearts and Motherwell meet in the league, after finishing within two places of each other last year – despite competing in different divisions. Hearts topped the Championship by 21 points from city rivals Hibs, while Motherwell were second-bottom of the Premiership and had to endure a nerve-racking play-off against Rangers to secure their top flight status.

Hearts –  -108  with BetVictor

Motherwell –  +350  with BoyleSports and Betfred

Draw –  +260  with BetVictor and Betfred

The home side have had a superb start to the season, opening their account with a barn-storming 4-3 win at home to St Johnstone. They followed that up with a come-from-behind win away at Dundee, which was a mightily impressive result. They currently sit in third place, level on six points with Aberdeen and Celtic. Manager Robbie Neilson said that he was delighted to have led his side to the upper reaches of the table, but insisted that they want to make it three out of three, then four out of four.

In contrast, Motherwell have had an inconsistent start to the campaign, winning 1-0 on the first day away at Inverness, but going down 2-0 at home to Dundee United last Saturday. It looks like being another long, hard season for Motherwell, and the hope brought along by that opening day win was shattered by the subsequent home loss. They might fancy another away trip without the pressure of playing in front of their own fans, but they won’t relish a trip to the Tynecastle stadium to take on a rejuvenated Hearts side, buoyed by the enthusiasm of promotion.

Hearts have won 8 of their last 9 competitive matches at home, and they will know that the impressive win at Dundee will count for nothing if they drop points here. They can be expected to come out firing and take the game to Motherwell. Despite that away win at Inverness at the start of the season, ‘Well have actually lost 13 of their last 17 competitive away games, and that’s a poor return. On a more positive note, they do have a good record here, having won on their last two trips to Tynecastle, but that looks set to change come Wednesday night.

At a price of just under even odds, Hearts look an outstanding bet to continue the good work and make it three Premiership wins out of three.

Tips Summary

Scottish Premiership, Wednesday 12th August

Celtic -2 Handicap –  +150  with Paddy Power

Hearts –  -108  with BetVictor

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