Celtic contest recent rivals Dundee United in League Cup final
Scottish champions Celtic will face domestic league rivals Dundee United for the second time in a week, as Hampden Park hosts a potentially enthralling League Cup final.
Ronny Deila’s Bhoys, 15/8 with Coral to win and both teams to score, were held to a 1-1 draw in the two side’s recent Scottish FA Cup quarter-final encounter at Tannadice Park, setting up a replay which will take place three days before a league meeting at Celtic Park.
This will mean the hopeful Hoops will have come up against Jackie McNamara’s Terrors, 13/2 to win, four times this month, but a possible 15th League Cup trophy triumph awaits Celtic in their latest match-up. The battling Bhoys are 29/20 to secure a victory to nil this time out.
Deila’s in-from Glasgow giants, odds-on 4/9 favourites, are aiming to complete one leg of an incredible domestic treble when they take to the pitch against Dundee United, and a League Cup coup would provide the Norwegian boss with his first piece of silverware since arriving in Scottish football.
The 39-year-old manager has rallied his players, claiming they have a huge chance to make history this term.
“Every time when you do well you will get more and more important and bigger and bigger games,” Deila said.
“We have a really, really good chance, we’re in a better position now (to win the treble) than we were in September.”
Celtic have steeped immense pressure on themselves after highlighting a potential treble as their primary aim this season, but Deila declared that a successful campaign does not solely rest on his side’s latest final.
“If we don’t succeed then we’re going to be disappointed but we’ll still have a lot to play for. So we just have to enjoy the moment and look forward to every game,” he continued.
The Scottish league leaders are boosted by the overruling of Virgil van Dijk’s ban for being sent off in the Scottish FA Cup tie, allowing him to face Dundee United again. He was shown red for an altercation with Paul Paton, who has also had his ban overturned on time for the cup final.
During the scuffle, United’s superb striker Nadir Ciftci appeared to kick out at Scott Brown after the Scotland international went in for a heavy challenge. The Turkish forward received a two-match ban for his role in proceedings, but will miss out because of a prior ban anyway.
Former Dundee United duo Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven are both cup-tied, having already featured for their past employers earlier in the season.
Leight Griffiths was on target in the side’s previous draw and is 4/1 to open proceedings at Hampden Park, while his strike partner John Guidetti is even-money to strike in 90 minutes, having netted 13 times this term.
Dundee United will be relying on Ryan Dow to provide an attacking threat in Ciftci’s absence, and he is 10/3 to bag a goal anytime in 90 minutes.