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P.J. Murray 17th Sep 2011 - 7:52

Bhoys to Men

From the frying pan to the fire, Celtic return from Europa league action to step into the fortress that is Ibrox.

This will be the three hundred and first meeting of the sides in the league, Rangers presently lead 117-99.

The Bhoys dire European record continued on Thursday night when they were beaten 2-0 by Atletico Madrid. However the score line flattered to deceive a little as the sheer lack of firepower in the end cost Celtic. Korean signing Ki Sung-Yueng threatened but failed to make any real in-roads and the loss of Scott Brown and Anthony Stokes was telling. But the duo could be back in for the squad to face Rangers which will be a massive boost.

The Gers are 6/4 favs to take all three points, so far their league form points to a win.  They are unbeaten in six games, winning five and drawing just the one. Celtic (2/1) have already been beaten so far this season but have five wins to their name.

The last meeting of the Old Firm ended in a 0-0 draw (2/1 for a draw this time around) in what was Walter Smith's last match. This will by Ally McCoist's first Glasgow derby as the Rangers manager and he will want to win. But rather than a goalless draw these fixtures can be goal fests as evidenced by 2-2 draw and 3-1 Celtic win last season. We are offering an enhanced Match Winner offer that either team win by three goals or more at the generous price of 8/1.

With their off-field problems so far this season many expected Rangers to struggle, but McCoist has steadied the ship since a 1-1 opening day draw with Hearts looked to be a sign of things to come. They don't have the distractions of Europe so will be doubly focused on league honours this year.

Celtic were last minute inclusions in the Europa League due to FC Sion being booted out and Neil Lennon will have to re-think his plans to include both league and Cup fixtures. Rangers could dominate this and the double result of Rangers/Rangers at 3/1 could be worth a shot.

Nikica Jelavic has been the main man for the Gers this season, the Croat has already banged in two goals far this season. He is 11/2 to open the scoring and 6 to score anytime. Steven Naismith has doubled this already with four strikes and he is 6/1 to score first and 7/4 to score anytime.

Celtic have three players who have all banged in three goals so far, Anthony Stokes (7/1), Gary Hooper (7/1) and Ki Sung-Yueng (14/1) have been doing the business so far giving Lennon what you would imagine to be a very potent strike force.

Given that the last time they met was a scoreless draw, form dictates that this shouldn't happen again and both teams to score at 19/20 looks to be a big price. Also over 2.5 goals at 5/4 should be one to be considered.

I think that Rangers under McCoist will have too much for the Glaswegian neighbours and they should win this game, but as a precaution I would be also backing both teams to score at 19/20 to cover my bet.


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