Celtic vs Ross County: Preview, predicted XI and betting tips

Celtic have the chance to open up a 3 point gap at the top ahead of Aberdeen, albeit possibly only until Monday night, when Aberdeen play away to Inverness. Aberdeen were the only team to play in the league last weekend as it was the Scottish Cup games, and they managed to beat St. Johnstone 4-3 to go joint top with Celtic.

Celti go into the match with no fresh injury worries and a couple less in the treatment room. Tom Rogic and Kris Commons are both available for selection again. Saidy Janko is back in full training finally but it is still too soon for him to feature. It’s likely to be another few weeks before he will be ready.

Jozo Simunovic remains out injured and won’t be available again for around another month. Mulgrew played against East Kilbride last weekend and is now fully recovered and available for selection again.

Ross County go into the game with an unchanged squad. David Goodwillie could feature for them after he joined on loan for the rest of the season from Aberdeen.

PREDICTED XI

 
Craig Gordon will come back into the team after he was rested last weekend against East Kilbride. You have to feel Bailly as he literally had nothing to do last weekend when he would be wanting to show what he can do given his limited chances.

With the continued absence of Simunovic in defence, Sviatchenko and Boyata will start. The early signs of Sviatchenko are promising and he looks very comfortable on the ball. Ambrose started against East Kilbride, but he shouldn’t be near the team after the League Cup disaster. Tierney and Lustig to continue as full backs.

The two holding midfielders will be Scott Brown and Nir Bitton, ahead of the ineffective Stefan Johansen. 

Along the front three of midfield, I’m going for Forrest and Mackay-Steven on the wings. Mackay-Steven had a lot of the ball against East Kilbride and all the play was going through him. McGregor could start again following his drink driving offence, but he might still have his mind elsewhere. Rogic and Commons will probably come off the bench. Behind the striker, I’ve gone with Kazim-Richards. Armstrong could play but he has been ineffective again of late.

Up front, there’s no budging Leigh Griffiths. He only managed to score one against East Kilbride, but the game was over as soon as he scored it. Celtic didn’t need to get out of first gear and it turned into a training match. Griffiths will continue to start and continue to score. He’s irreplaceable.

PREVIEW

 In the last five head to head meetings, Celtic have won 3, drawn 1 and lost the other. The aggregate score has been 8-4.

In the last five head to head meetings at Celtic Park, Celtic have won 3 and drawn the other 2. The aggregate score has been 9-2.

Since the defeat to Motherwell, Celtic have won their last 3 matches at home with a score line of 12-2.

Celtic have not lost back to back league matches since February/March 2013. On that occasion, their second defeat was to Ross County.

Ross County have never beaten Celtic at Celtic Park in the league, losing 4 and drawing 2.

In the 15 matches which both have played each other in all competitions, Celtic have won 8, drawn 4 and lost 3. The aggregate score has been 30-14.

At Celtic Park in all competitions, Celtic have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1. The aggregate score being 9-4.

BETTING TIPS

Another off round against East Kilbride, as Celtic didn’t get out of first gear and score a load of goals as was widely expected. Onto the Ross County game and bets are as follows: 

Celtic & over 3.5 goals at 7/5.

Griffiths to score 2 or more goals at 8/5.

Kazim-Richards to score anytime at 11/10. Wait to see if he starts first.

Good luck.

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