Dundee United fans are probably relieved that, for all of the modern game’s focus on stats and figures, momentum remains one key factor that’s still impossible to quantify.
For their side are coming off the back of a pitiful 4-0 thumping at Hamilton as they welcome Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership champions Celtic in Saturday’s televised midday kick-off.
The defeat was the Terrors’ second loss in a season that has so far returned only four points, continuing on the miserable end to their last campaign, where Jackie McNamara’s side recorded just four wins from their last 22 games.
So while the stattos might not be able to convert momentum it into numbers, United fans probably have a fair idea of how much of it their team possess, and it contrasts starkly to that of their hosts on Saturday.
It says much about Celtic’s performance in Europe in midweek that boss Ronny Deila came away disappointed with a 3-2 victory over a handy Malmo side. The home side were dominant very early on and arguably could have been four goals to the good before the Swedes managed a reply.
The Bhoys’ display was a continuation of their recent league form and squad confidence, unbeaten with three wins from four and with leaders Hearts firmly in their sights.
With ten goals scored already this season, Celtic appear to have no problem finding the net, which can only be a worry for McNamara after seeing his defence ship four goals to a Hamilton Accies team who had yet to get off the mark in their two previous league games.
Only St Johnstone and Kilmarnock have conceded more goals than Dundee United this season.
This week McNamara gave short shrift to the United fans making their concerns known on social media in a rant that included a unique take on his online detractors: “How many Dundee United fans go on social media? Do the 7,500 who turn up [at Tannadice] go onto it? Or is it a couple?”.
The corresponding fixture last season finished 0-3 to the visitors and was notable for Leigh Griffiths’ second-half hat-trick. A similar result this time round (priced at 15/2) risks condemning United into the bottom two by 5pm on Saturday, by which time McNamara will surely find that more than two Dundee United fans boast social media accounts.
Celtic seem to have prioritised explosive starts this season, with three of their four league games seeing them taking the lead inside the first ten minutes. They led 2-0 by the 10th minute against Malmo, with Griffiths opening the scoring after just three.
That was the third time this season the in-form 25-year-old broke the deadlock early on and he’s 11/4 to do the same again, making him a great pick with Ladbrokes’ Sharp Shooter offer in mind, where you’ll double your odds if your First Goalscorer bet scores in the opening 25 minutes in selected live TV games*.
And given Celtic’s tendency to bag goals in the first half, the first-half handicap betting could well reward a punt on Celtic -1 at 11/4.
Ladbrokes are also running a price boost for the game, available from 8.00 am Saturday, with Celtic to win and both teams to score WAS 7/4 NOW 9/4
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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