Celtic were previewed last week for their trip to Aberdeen and despite not scoring until the 70th minute, they very nearly achieved the three goals needed for a winning bet. Since then, Neil Lennon’s men have lost 2-1 to Benfica in the Champions League which means their fate will be decided on matchday six when they take on Spartak Moscow in Glasgow and the Lisbon side travel to Barcelona. Whatever happens on December the 5th, Celtic will be playing in Europe after Christmas which is a real bonus for the club considering it’s the first time the vast majority of the players have competed at this level. Back to domestic matters and the victory at Aberdeen compiled with Hibs’ defeat at Dundee was enough for Celtic to reclaim top spot in the SPL with a game in hand. Having not won at home in the league since the beginning of October, Saturday’s game against Inverness is a chance to cement their place at the top of the Premier League.
Up until a week ago, Inverness were going along very nicely and were unbeaten in nine league games. They forfeited that record in remarkable fashion, however, losing 5-1 at home to Motherwell last Sunday. It was a disastrous performance from Terry Butchers men and one which came out of nowhere. They paid the price for starting very slowly and their opponents took advantage. Although they got the first goal in the second half to make it 2-1, Motherwell quickly reaffirmed their superiority and with Inverness pushing more and more men forward, the result was inevitable. Saturday’s trip to Celtic will be more of an examination than normal as it will be their first match since Sunday and Butcher will be hoping to see a reaction from his players, one which suggests that the performance and defeat against Motherwell was a one off.
Celtic don’t have injury problems to seek with several first team players either struggling to be fit for Saturday’s match, or definitely ruled out. Scott Brown will be absent whilst Joe Ledley and Kelvin Wilson are doubtful. Gary Hooper should line up in attack as he attempts to regain match sharpness after looking jaded on his return to first team action on Tuesday.
The most impressive aspect of Inverness’ recent good form is that they have done it playing attractive football. It’s often easy for lesser sides to pack defences and look to catch opposition sides on the break. That’s not the case for Butcher and his players as even when they were 4-1 down with 10 minutes to go last week they threw caution to the wind and attempted to claw back the deficit.
Although Rangers are now in the third division Inverness can take great heart from their 3-0 success over the other major Glasgow side in the League Cup when they make the trip to Celtic Park. They have scored a goal in each of their last 17 games in all competitions, including two against Celtic back in August. I can see them causing problems for the Champions again, tomorrow, which makes both teams to score very attractive.
Both teams to score 11/10 @ BetVictor