Dundee United v Celtic
It’s the Quarter Finals of the Scottish Cup this weekend and the tie of the round, undoubtedly, takes place at Tannadice where Dundee United host Celtic.
Peter Houston was under pressure in the early months of the season despite having previously won Dundee United’s first piece of silverware since 1994 when they won this competition in 2010. It seems amazing he received so much criticism now as he has got his side to fourth place in the SPL and obviously, the latter stages of the Premier cup competition in Scotland. Monday’s 3-0 win over Inverness was as comfortable a game as you are likely to see. They took the lead and proceeded to control the game from then on in. It was their fifth win in six games and they are on a run of seven games unbeaten so, aside from Celtic, they are the form side in the country. Their home form has also improved since the turn of the year having lost just once at Tannadice in 2012 and it was their form at home which frustrated for much of the season having lost four games in the first half of the season on their own patch.
Celtic suffered what has been a rare feat in recent months when they drew against Aberdeen last weekend to drop their first points in the league since November. Despite taking the lead in the first half, they had to settle for a point which was a fair result considering they never reached the heights of previous weeks. The fact they had so many players on International duty the previous midweek would have also affected the result as it meant that they gave debuts to two full backs who were off the pace for much of the game. Sunday’s match against Dundee United is pivotal in their quest to win their first domestic treble since 2001 as they are in the final of the League cup – to be played the following Sunday – and have a lead of 21 points in the SPL. Obviously there is still a lot of football to be played between now and May but it is arguably the most important game of the season thus far.
Johnny Russell has been linked with a move to Celtic and the boyhood Hoops fan will be eager to impress Neil Lennon and his staff and the best way to do that will be by turning in another fine performance. His goal on Monday night showed what he is all about with excellent technique followed by a cool and composed finish.
Scott Brown missed last weekend’s draw up North but will be back to captain his side and Lennon will be hoping that he is able to find the form he was in before his injury. He will go straight back into the midfield alongside Victor Wanyama and it will no doubt be a competitive battled with John Rankin and Scott Robertson of United in good form as well.
Many believe that Celtic can win the treble with a victory on Sunday as they see it as their biggest challenge. Lennon and his players will of course be thinking purely of being professional and playing to the levels they have set this season. If they do that, they should have enough to progress.
My Selection: Celtic to beat Dundee United
Best odds available: 8/11 available with Skybet