Rangers target repeat over revenge
Frank Monkhouse | 23 April 2017
Old Firm rivals meet in Scottish Cup semi-finals
Feuding Glasgow neighbours Rangers and Celtic renew rivalries at Hampden on Sunday afternoon in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. Rangers knocked Celtic out at this stage last year, and go in unbeaten under new manager Pedro Caixinha, but haven’t been given a chance in the betting.
That will come as no surprise to followers of the Scottish game, with the head-to-head stats between the two this season reading Celtic 3 – 0 Rangers, and one draw. The aggregate score doesn’t look too rosy for the blue half of the city either, Celtic 9 – 3 Rangers.
Not all doom and gloom for Gers
Crumbs of comfort can be picked out by Rangers fans going into Sunday’s tussle however, a 1-1 finish at Parkhead in March when operating without a recognised manager, and the form of new boss Pedro Caixinha, who has shook things up in Govan since his arrival last month.
Starting with a 4-0 win over Hamilton, to get the attention of fans, the confident Portuguese gaffer followed that with a pair of draws vs Motherwell and Kilmarnock, before beating Aberdeen and Partick Thistle in the next two. A ropey defence, known throughout the Warburton era for giving away cheap goals – five against Celtic earlier in the season – will go into this match having kept a clean-sheet in each of their last three. Rangers to win to nil again is one for die-hards, at Coral’s 11/1.
Pedro can become an instant hit
Caixinha, joined by former Rangers and Norwich striker Jonathan Johansson in his backroom team, wasted no time in showing his group of misfiring bears that the winds of change were blowing through the Ibrox halls. Dropping Michael O’Halloran to the under-20s, he promoted two youth players to the first-team, a gamble which has paid off so far. Making three subs at half-time against Motherwell showed no player was safe.
The standout result during his reign was, without doubt, that unexpected 3-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie, but it would be eclipsed by victory on Sunday. Rangers to win the match is 6/1, which looks massive in a derby, while the underdogs to repeat the efforts of last year and qualify is 10/3.
Favourites haven’t put a foot wrong
Celtic have won the Premiership title this year with plenty to spare, their sixth in-a-row, as they edge towards a record-breaking 10 titles on the bounce. Rangers and Celtic have both won nine each in the past, but The Bhoys will never have a better chance to set the bar, with Rangers out of the game in the early part of the race.
Under Brendan Rodgers The Hoops remain unbeaten in the league this season, currently showing a record of 29 wins and four draws, and go in chasing a treble. A League Cup winners medal joining the league flag in the Parkhead cabinet will please fans, but everyone connected to the Celts will want the full house fans believe they deserve for their efforts this season.
History on Celtic’s side
As well as the upper-hand in this season’s head-to-head, Celtic also dominate the stats in this competition, winning the trophy a record 36 times, three more than Rangers, although they have not stuck the green and white ribbons on the silver since 2013.
Rogers and his Bhoys are no more than 1/5 to qualify, but there’s better in the match betting market, with Coral traders offering 4/9 on them doing as expected and taking the wind from Rangers’ sails.