Celtic’s decisive 5-1 win against St Mirren in Paisley yesterday afternoon restored Ange Postecoglou’s side nine points advantage at the top of the cinch Premiership and at the same time widened still further the goal difference advantage that the current Scottish Champions enjoys over nearest rivals theRangers.
And of course it reduces the remaining games, taking that down to just eleven matches left and for the title to go anywhere other than Celtic Park that is going to involve the Hoops losing three matches, drawing another and theRangers winning all eleven of their games, and if they are that lucky, maybe they should start playing bingo at one of the best bingo sites UK and quit playing football!
While it is of course mathematically possible for Mick Beale’s side to mount a late charge for the title – they still require favours in two other games and that seems less likely after Celtic turned around a 1-0 half time deficit at St Mirren yesterday, on the ground that they lost 2-0 last September, to end up comfortable 5-1 winners.
And having lost the League Cup final to Celtic the previous Sunday, Mick Beale will clearly see his best chance of silverware will come through retaining the Scottish Cup, which a Giovanni van Bronckhorst led theRangers won for the first time last May beating Hearts in the final.
There’s a midweek calendar in the cinch Premiership this week – Celtic entertain Hearts while theRangers make the journey to Edinburgh to play Hibs then the attention will turn to the four Scottish Cup quarter-finals this weekend.
There’s no doubt that the biggest match is a second meeting meeting between Hearts and Celtic in four days, this time with the game being played at Tynecastle on Saturday lunchtime with a 12.15pm kick-off. The four cup ties are being played over four days – Friday to Monday – so the first semi-finalist to be known will be between Inverness Caley Thistle and Kilmarnock, with the Friday night clash in the Scottish Highlands kicking off at 7.45pm and it’s live on BBC Scotland. It’s hard to see this going against Derek McInnes’ Premiership side who you will recall, also made it through to the League Cup Final where they lost to Celtic.
Then it’s the tie of the round between Hearts and Celtic and for theRangers fans there will be huge interest in this one as they desperately hope for a Hearts victory to end Celtic’s chances of winning a treble. That game is live on viaplay and is bound to attract a huge television audience.
There will be a much higher than usual away support at the game due to Scottish Cup rules that state the away side is entitled to 20% of the ticket allocation. The Celtic support are sure to be in fine voice and should roar the team onto a crucial win.
Then on Sunday Raith Rovers visit Ibrox and Mick Beale’s side will be anxious to either join Celtic in the semi-finals or keen to take advantage of Celtic’s defeat the previous day. Either way the ‘last chance saloon’ motivation to win the Scottish Cup should ensure no slip-ups with James Tavernier likely to score the penalty in the match that is also live on the Viaplay channel.
Then on Monday the fourth Scottish Cup Quarter Final tie takes place at the Falkirk Stadium where Ayr United are the visitors with the match being broadcast live by BBC Scotland. League One side Falkirk has enjoyed a decent enough season and currently sit in second spot in the league behind leaders Dunfermline.
Meanwhile Ayr United who are in third position on 40 points in the Scottish Championship just behind leaders Partick Thistle (43 pts), second placed Greenock Morton (41 points). Reaching Hampden and winning a place in the Premiership would be an incredible achievement for manager Lee Bullen and his side. Falkirk took care of Aberdeen’s conquerers Darvel in the 5th Round, but it’s probably going to be the Somerset Park club who will join Ayrshire rivals Kilmarnock, Celtic and theRangers in this season’s Scottish Cup semi-finals.