WE asked our contributors, or at least the ones sober enough to respond, for their predictions for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden.
DAVID POTTER: CELTIC 2 – 1 RANGERS
On Saturday I was watching Forfar v Alloa. For Sunday I think Celtic will win 2-1 goals scored by Leigh Griffiths and Callum McGregor. 1-1 at half-time and pretty even until then, but the general opinion in the Press about the second half will be that Celtic deserved their win, and should have scored more. Loads of yellow cards, but no red ones! Buns wheeking about a penalty or two that they should have had, and no real crowd trouble.
LEWIS FAULDS: CELTIC 3 RANGERS 1
A place in the Scottish Cup final against Motherwell awaits today’s winners but there’s more than this at stake for both teams. Graeme Murty and his players are playing for salvation, silverware and a Glasgow Derby scalp would ease their otherwise underwhelming season. However, Celtic are on the brink of a historic back-to-back Treble.
The match will pose a very different scenario than last month’s 3-2 win at Ibrox, Celtic have a full squad to choose from and should have too much strength going forward. That said, the left-hand side combination of Murphy and John proved to be the best hope for Rangers so whoever plays on Celtic’s right needs to win that battle. I fully expect Rangers to come out and try to counter attack Celtic as they did in the opening period of the game at Ibrox. The chance to run in behind and open them up will have Sinclair, Roberts and Forrest all chomping at the bit to be named in the starting XI. The strength of Celtic in attack outweigh any potential counters from the Ibrox side and I see the game finishing with Celtic celebrations.
PAUL JOHN DYKES: CELTIC 3 RANGERS 0
On his recent ‘On The One Road’ podcast, when discussing the victory over Ross County, Kevin Graham used a phrase made famous by Elvis Presley – “Taking care of business”.
This resonated with me when looking ahead to today’s Scottish Cup semi-final, because that is exactly what Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic have never failed to do domestically. Rodgers has been without many of his creatives for large parts of this season, but they are all in the squad for Hampden.
Thwarting Sinclair, Roberts, Rogic et al will be key to Graham Murty’s game-plan, but I question whether he has the calibre of player to contain so many influential performers and I can see goals coming from Sinclair, Rogic and Roberts.
DECLAN McCONVILLE: CELTIC 2 RANGERS 0
This semi-final match is season defining! The Hoops have yet to hit the heights of last season, that was of course always going to be difficult. However, if they win today and go on to lift the cup all will be forgotten, and Brendan Rodgers will again write his name into the history books.
There is no reason why Celtic shouldn’t win the game. Our side is superior, and the manger has an excellent record at Hampden, winning every match that he has been involved in at the National Stadium. It will be tight, but the Hoops will have enough to come through and we have a psychological edge over them after our fantastic performance at Ibrox last month. I am going to go with a 2-0 win with Dembele and Rogic getting the goals.
Well, the expectation seems to be there that Celtic will win and there seems no reason why we shouldn’t. Jim Craig – who has forgotten more about the game than any of us knows – reckons that it is down to the Celtic players turning up. If that happens we will be fine.
See you at Hampden…
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