A friendly Christmas gathering

Peace on earth? Season of goodwill? A time for giving? Forget that, there’s an Old Firm clash to sort out.

A friendly Christmas gathering

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December 28th, 2011

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The week’s festivities will come an abrupt end tonight as, in a week when many of us have some extra time of work and ergo, extra time in the pub, Celtic and Rangers will meet in a match that will decide who starts the New Year in the dizzying position of first in the SPL.

That makes tonight’s match a pretty big deal, with both sides still very much focused on proving that they are the kinds of mediocre football and earning an embarrassing exit from next season’s Champions League qualifiers.

Celtic, to their credit, have done well to get themselves into a position where they could go top tonight, given that they were 15 points behind Rangers back in November. Since November 5 however, they’ve played eight games in the league against teams with miniscule budgets by comparison and won all eight. Rangers, on the other hand, have played six games in the league against teams with comparatively miniscule budgets and won just three.

Their latest outing happened to be a 2-1 defeat at the mighty St Mirren although Lee McCulloch will be available after Rangers appealed his red card – something which Ally McCoist claimed “completely changed the game” and as a result, he has absolutely no worries that his expensively assembled squad couldn’t see them off. Centre half Dorin Goian will be out though after his two yellows in the same game.

And with all of those Christmas cards flying around, William Hill’s 2/1 on a red card in this match could be worth a look. After all, the last eight meetings between these two have produced six red cards, with Charlie Mulgrew getting his marching orders in the last encounter earlier this season.

If you’re looking for goals, then three of the last four clashes at Parkhead have exceeded the 2.5 threshold and, with both sides amongst the goals in recent weeks, the 13/11 on over 2.5 goals could also tempt.

Finally, we’re going to take the 17/10 on Gary Hooper to score any time. The former Scunthorpe striker has scored nine in the last eleven for Celtic and he has scored three goals in his last three Old Firm clashes.

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