Kilmarnock make the trip to Glasgow from Ayrshire on Saturay afternoon to face Celtic, and the club are in the unusual position of being top of the Scottish Premiership table. Currently a point ahead of both halves of the Old Firm, Killie’s form has seen manager Steve Clarke being discussed as a possible successor to Brendan Rodgers in the Celtic manager’s chair when the Ulsterman eventually decides to seek pastures new.
Both of these teams are in good form in recent weeks, and Celtic won the League Cup final at Hampden Park last weekend, beating Aberdeen 1-0. They have also enjoyed some success in the Europa League in recent times. But Killie have not conceded a goal in four league games, and have taken 10 points from those games, scoring six goals in the process. It will not be an easy game for the home side on Saturday afternoon.
Celtic vs Kilmarnock Prediction: Celtic 1-1 Kilmarnock
Our prediction for this game is that it will be a low-scoring draw. Both teams have been winning games recently, and have also been very hard to beat. Neither side is experiencing defensive problems right now, and both teams know how to score goals. It should be a cracking game, and punters who back it to end in a 1-1 draw may well find themselves enjoying a bit of luck this weekend. It would not surprise us if Killie took the lead in the first half, only to be pulled back to parity by the home side after half-time.
Our recommended tip: Draw, 1X2
Our featured tip comes from Irish bookie Paddy Power, who are offering odds of 5/1 on the1X2 market for the game ending in a draw. This looks like being an excellent bet, with both teams in good form and Kilmarnock having a good record against Celtic this season. It is never easy to beat either side of the Old Firm at home, so Killie may have to settle for a point. Both teams have great recent defensive records, but also possess plenty of attacking threat. This match therefore looks like being tight and tense, and should provide fans with some high-quality entertainment on Saturday afternoon in Glasgow.
These two teams have met on one prior occasion this season, at Rugby Park on September 23. Kilmarnock came out on top, recording a 2-1 win over the Bhoys. Celtic took the lead in the first half, with Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths finding the Killie net in the 34th minute. The second half saw Killie fight back, though, and former Rangers winger Chris Burke equalised for the Ayrshire side in the 64th minute. The home side clinched the three points with a Stuart Findlay goal that game in the third minute of injury time at the end of the game.
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Players to watch: Ryan Christie & Greg Stewart
Celtic’s attacking midfielder Ryan Christie is really beginning to show his potential to be a great player this season. The Scotland international scored the only goal of the game in the League Cup final victory over Aberdeen last weekend, and has attracted plenty of plaudits from pundits North of the Border for his performances this season. Killie will need to keep a close eye on the 23-year-old this weekend. He can break open tight games in an instant.
For Killie, Greg Stewart is a man to keep an eye on. The forward, on loan from English Championship club Birmingham City, bagged a brace of goals in last weekend’s 2-0 win at home to Livingston, and will look to repeat those kind of goalscoring feats at Parkhead on Saturday. Stewart has previously starred for Dundee in the Premiership, though subsequent moves to Aberdeen and Birmingham have been disappointing. He looks like he feels right at home at Kilmarnock now, though.