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Hamilton hoping to hinder Celtic’s Premiership pursuit

Celtic, odds-on 1/8 to win the title, will make a trip to New Douglas Park hoping to secure a second consecutive win on their travels, as the Bhoys aim to close the gap on Aberdeen at the top of Scotland’s Premiership table.

The reigning champions currently trail Derek McInnes’ Dons by four points, but have played two games less than their table-topping rivals.

Ronny Deila’s Bhoys, 2/5 favourites, have been in impressive form on the their travels lately, winning five of their last six away fixtures, including a comfortable 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock last time out. Stefan Scepovic netted a late second half goal at Rugby Park and is 7/2 to bag the last strike again in his latest outing.

Martin Canning’s men, 15/2 to win, currently hold fifth spot in Scotland’s top-flight but were defeated on home soil in their previous fixture by Dundee United.

However, Hamilton managed to edge past the Hoops earlier in the campaign thanks to an Ali Crawford effort at Celtic Park which claimed all three points in a 1-0 triumph. The daring defender has surprisingly netted eight league goals this term, becoming the club’s joint highest league finisher alongside striker Mickael Antoine-Curier, and is available at 6/1 to score again anytime.

At this crucial stage of the season, many would have expected Celtic to be flying high at the top of the Scottish Premiership standings, but things haven’t gone as fans may have hoped with Deila’s under-pressure side faltering in second.

The Norwegian coach has had to deal with the added pressure of speculation linking duo Virgil van Dijk and Kris Commons with moves away from Glasgow. Bhoys boss Deila reiterated his desire to hold on to both players, with the pair set to start against Hamilton.

Celtic Park’s under-fire boss has received recent criticism from fans for his adamant stance and philosophy in attractive football. However, Deila has been quick to deny accusations that his approach and style of play are more important to him than winning trophies.

“I’m a winner. I’m not just a development coach, I’m both,” Deila said. “You can’t do one thing and not the other. It’s hard because if you don’t develop you don’t get better. It goes hand in hand. Short and long term.”

Deila admits he knows the price of failure at such an iconic club, suggesting he has always had an eye on silverware. “I’ve won things before and I’m here to win. That’s the most important thing,” he continued.

The Bhoys’ next opponents are still feeling the effects of losing their former manager Alex Neil to Norwich City this month, and a 3-2 loss to Dundee last week suggests he will be hard to replace. The struggling Scottish side are 11/8 to lose to nil.