Hibernian v Celtic Betting Preview – Scottish Cup Football March 2

In-form Hibs are capable of spoiling Lennon's return

Football Betting

It’s only been a month since Neil Lennon and Hibernian went their separate ways. The parting was less than convivial so the Northern Irishman is assured of an interesting welcome as he officially takes charge of Celtic for the first time in a Scottish Cup quarter-final at Easter Road.  Facing his last club in his first match in charge is one thing but Lennon will not want to lose to his former employers and former players on their own turf with a third consecutive treble for his new club at stake.

Hibernian Form

Hibs have actually thrived since Lennon left the Edinburgh club under a cloud. His replacement, Paul Heckingbottom, has overseen three successive victories and they also beat Raith Rovers in the last round of the Scottish Cup following Lennon’s departure. With 11 goals scored and four conceded since they lost 2-0 to Celtic in the Premiership early last month, Heckingbottom needs to be applauded for getting his players to buy into a more positive approach to matches but the visit of the cup holders will be the acid test. Mark McNulty has scored five goals in his last four appearances and the Reading loanee is Hibs’ danger man. He is thriving back north of the border, having started his career at Livingston, with Daryl Horgan and Stevie Mallan providing the ammunition.

Celtic Form

A last-gasp winner against 10-man Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday extended Celtic’s winning run in domestic competitions to double figures. The League Cup is already safely back at Celtic Park and another Premiership title is looking a formality so the Scottish Cup could be the most difficult obstacle to another treble. Lennon’s appointment is initially only temporary but it would be hard for the Celtic board not to make the position a full time one should the Hoops’ domination continue. This is not an easy tie, however, as they are approaching the crucial point of what has been a very long season already. Ryan Christie, Olivier Ntcham, Anthony Ralston, Filip Benkovic, Tom Rogic, Eboue Kouassi, Daniel Arzani and Leigh Griffiths could all miss out again but their interim manager will make sure that those who play will be aware of the importance of not losing this game.

Hibernian v Celtic Head-to-Heads

Hibs and Celtic’s last meeting in the Scottish Cup came in the 2013 final, won 3-0 by the Glasgow side. But Hibernian have won their last two meetings at Easter Road by the same 2-0 scoreline and, remarkably, the Edinburgh team have scored exactly two goals in six of their last eight clashes with Celtic in all competitions.

Hibernian v Celtic Current Match Odds

Hibernian 5/1, Draw 16/5, Celtic 4/7 (Odds correct at 10.00am March 1)

Hibernian v Celtic Predictions

It’s too early to determine whether the return of their former manager has compensated for the loss of Brendan Rodgers at Celtic. Opinion among fans appears divided and Paul Heckingbottom’s team talk for Hibs has written itself. He has brought instant stability and belief back to Easter Road and Hibs are overpriced at 5/1 to end Celtic’s treble dreams. Sportingbet have Hibernian at 8/15 to win on the Handicap with a two-goal start and that is too good to turn down. William Hill are offering a very generous 3/1 that there is a penalty in the match.