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Stuart Dalgleish 1st Mar 2011 - 15:55

Celtic set to dish out more pain on Gers

Celtic v Rangers betting preview - Wednesday 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1

Here we go again with another Old Firm derby with the Scottish Cup this time on the line.

A couple of weeks ago we all thought that Celtic (19/20) had ended their great rivals title hopes, but the Bhoys surprisingly lost to Motherwell, their first defeat in 17 games, on Sunday while Rangers (14/5, the draw 12/5) took advantage by beating St Johnstone to close the gap to five points.

With Rangers having two games in hand on Celtic the race is very much back on again in the league.

It means that Rangers are still fighting for honours on four fronts as they're in the last 16 of the Europa League, while Celtic are still chasing a treble with the CIS Cup final between the two coming up at the end of March.

The Gers though could end up tiring as the season draws to the close and you would favour Celtic to win more trophies than Rangers.

Going on the last match between the two you would certainly fancy the Hoops to progress to the quarters of the cup where a trip to Inverness awaits them.

That match at Celtic Park was a demolition job from the hosts, as Rangers just never got going; a repeat of that 3-0 scoreline is a massive 16/1, it's probably not going to happen twice in a matter of weeks but worth a few quid at those odds.

The man who punished Rangers that day was Gary Hooper (4/1 first goal), the former Scunthorpe man made David Weir look every bit the 40 year old with a pacy performance against the Gers' skipper, Weir is set to return after missing the weekend match and he'll be hoping that Hooper is given a rest for this match.

Neil Lennon started with Hooper and Georgios Samaras (11/2) that time with Anthony Stokes (9/2) on the bench, the same pairing could happen on Wednesday night as Celtic looked more dangerous with Samaras and Hooper up top in the second half at Fir Park.

Kris Commons (6/1) will operate behind the front two as he looks for his third Old Firm goal in as many appearances since moving from Derby in January.

Fraser Forster and Welsh ace Joe Ledley are both suspended, Lukasz Zaluska should take the gloves while Beram Kayal will return after his suspension.

The visitors are likely to be without Vladimir Weiss (12/1) after the midfielder picked up an ankle injury on Sunday, John Fleck (10/1) could replace the Slovakian.

Rangers still haven't quite worked out their best attack since Kenny Miller left for Turkey, Nikica Jelavic (13/2) has looked in great form recently and he's likely to start it's just who's going to partner him that remains unclear.

In Europe El Hadji Diouf (15/2) started up front and duly obliged with the opening goal, while at the weekend it was David Healy (7/1) with Jelavic and Kyle Lafferty (15/2) out wide.

I'm not sue Diouf will be involved this time after the incidents of the original tie, Walter Smith might want to save him for the rather less hostile atmosphere of St Mirren on the Sunday.

The first match was an absolute cracker, and I think the neutrals wouldn't mind another four-goal thriller (over 3.5 goals is 12/5, 2-2 a 16/1 shot), but I think it could just be a straightforward win the hosts and 2-0 looks a sensible bet at 17/2 as Rangers run out of steam from all their recent excursions.



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