Celtic v Hearts: Bhoys can put dodgy start behind them

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It has been a start to the season to forget, relatively speaking, for Celtic fans; twice knocked out of the Champions League, while inconsistent performances in the league leave them in an unfamiliar fourth spot.

They have a chance to get back on track against lower league opposition in the Scottish League Cup, although that lower league opposition happens to be a recently relegated Hearts side that sit top of the second tier.

We have crunched the numbers and picked out three bets worth siding with ahead of this intriguing tie.

Celtic to win and both teams to score @ 8/5

They may have beaten Hearts without conceding on their last three meetings, but this season’s Celtic is not one we are used to.

With no clean sheets since August 13, we feel a free-scoring Jambos side should find the net here.

But despite their problems, the hosts should have enough in their locker to progress, especially with under-fire boss Ronny Deila stating;

“Our dream is to win the treble. So this cup is important to us and we are going to go with our strongest team in this game”.

Kris Commons to score first @ 3/1

The former Derby County man has enjoyed taking on Hearts in recent times, having scored five goals in his last three games against them.

Vitally he opened the scoring in each of that trio of games, and could well make it a fourfold here.

He is sure to be the focal point of the creativity in the Celtic ranks, and changed the game when coming on at half-time at the weekend, subsequently scoring from the penalty spot to ensure the Bhoys avoided an embarrassing defeat against Motherwell.

Hearts to win either half @ 3/1

While we fancy the Hoops to come good in this cup tie, this season has been far from straightforward for followers of the 45-time champions.

They were totally out of sorts in the opening 45 minutes at the weekend, going in at the break 1-0 down, something that have done twice this season.

The visitors meanwhile have shown none of the effects of administration and relegation this campaign, having picked up 16 points from six games and sit top of the Scottish Championship.

It could pay to back Robbie Neilson’s side to come out on top in either half.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.