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Celtic and Rangers set for first Old Firm fixture since 2012

Scotland’s most famous and successful clubs, Glasgow giants Celtic and Rangers, duel for the first time in nearly three years, when the latter were last in the top flight. Now they face off for a League Cup semi-final clash that promises to produce a fiery occasion.

It is the Hoops that are the clear odds-on 1/3 favourites for victory with Coral at Hampden Park, given that they are a division above Gers and in better form, winning 14 of their last 16 domestic games.

However, Rangers have lost just two of their previous six meetings with Celtic, and are tempting 15/2 chances. One of those matches was in the final of this competition, back in March 2011, with Gers coming out 2-1 winners after extra time. They are 25/1 chances for that result in their favour once more in 90 minutes this time.

The duo’s last meeting was in the Scottish Premiership, though, where Celtic defeated their old foes 3-0. That scoreline could be more realistic given the difference in quality between the two sides, so take odds of 17/2 for that outcome.

Draws are rare in this fixture, particularly in the League Cup, where that has happened just twice in 47 encounters. If you fancy a share of the spoils in 90 minutes, however, then take a price of 4/1.

Ahead of the much-awaited game, Gers caretaker boss Kenny McDowall warned his Celtic counterpart, saying: “I met Ronny Deila for the first time [at a Hampden event on Wednesday] and I’m sure people will have told him what to expect.

“But until you’re standing there and you see it full on, that’s when you realise where you’re at.”

While Deila said: “Everything I am thinking of is winning. This game is going to be difficult. Rangers are the second best in Scotland. They have a lot of experienced players who have been through this before and it is a semi-final so it is not going to be easy.”

When if asked he would take a 1-0 win (priced at 15/2), he added: “Of course. Go back one week and you saw Chelsea losing at home to Bradford [City] and Man City losing to Middlesbrough [in the English FA Cup]. A cup competition is a special thing and that is why we love it.

“It is a semi-final and I don’t think the game is going to be great. The winner is going to be decided by small margins. Small factors will tip it our way or the other way.”

For goals, Anthony Stokes, Kris Commons and on loan Man City striker John Guidetti, have all impressed this term, and they are respective 10/11, evens and 10/11 chances to net here anytime.

Rangers, meanwhile, will hope to count on Nicky Law, who is a tempting 11/2 shout in the same market.

In terms of absentees, though, the Hoops will be without Charlie Mulgrew, while Gers are missing Bilel Mohsni, who is on international duty, and injured keeper Cammy Bell.