Celtic v Dundee
The first of our Dec 22 Scottish Premiership betting tips is Celtic v Dundee. Celtic are back in command of the Scottish Premiership title race as Brendan Rodgers looks to complete another domestic clean-sweep; the club moves ever closer to the record 10 league titles in-a-row fans have been dreaming of over the last few years. It would be an achievement that would put their rivalry with Rangers to bed for a long time. There’s plenty of football still to be played before they get anywhere near that achievement however; as such, everyone at Parkhead will be eager to get on with retaining their prize and seeing off the challenge of Rangers and Kilmarnock.
The Bhoys headed into what promises to be a crucial festive period top of the table following a stunning win over then leaders Kilmarnock on 8 December. The Rugby Park side arrived in Glasgow with confidence; they set the pace going into the match; however, they were dismantled by the champions, losing 5-1 thanks to a double from Forrest and goals for Edouard, Lustig and Christie. It was a result that sent out a real message of intent to the rest of Scottish football and proved Celtic were past their recent sticky patch. The Hoops were then beaten 2-1 by Red Bull Salzburg but were able to progress from Group B thanks to results elsewhere. They will be playing Europa League knockout football in the new year. That means it’s important to build up a lead domestically before embarking on that adventure.
Visitors Have Been Poor
Not a lot was expected of Dundee this season with most experts predicting another term spent down in the bottom-half fighting against relegation. That has proven to be a shrewd call and The Dee sat down in 11th after 16 games played; their record currently reads two wins, three draws and 11 defeats. There’s not a lot between themselves and St Mirren, with Hamilton only slightly better off at the time of checking. It looks a three-horse race to avoid two places and that promises to be an interesting battle as we get into 2019.
Dundee have made themselves difficult to beat in winter and put together a four-match unbeaten run that very few saw coming. Three of those four games ended in a draw with the best of them a 1-1 at home to title-chasers Rangers. They got a point out of that match despite playing for much of the afternoon with 10 men; Ralph was shown a straight red card with 20 minutes on the clock. Ex-Rangers favourite, Kenny Miller, broke the deadlock on nine minutes before Ralph was ordered off and Andy Halliday scored the resulting free-kick. It then looked a case of how many The Bears would win by. However, Dundee stuck to their task and held firm for a point.
Easy Home Win
Despite their heroics against Rangers at Dens Park we are completely confident Celtic will take all three points from this home tie, and quite comfortably too. The Hoops’ experience tells them the importance of picking up wins in December, especially against lowly ranked sides at home. Bookies have them as favourites to get the result. We’re happy to push our luck a little further and take Celtic to win both halves at odds of 4/9 at 888sport. That’ll work well as a single or with two or three others in a punchy accumulator.
This will be the second meeting of these sides this season with Celtic strolling to a stunning 5-0 win back in October on the road. There’s no question they are a better, more settled side now than they were then and we make it likely they will go close to repeating the same kind of scoreline. Dundee haven’t scored against The Bhoys in five games, a run stretching back to March 2017. Dundee have been given odds of 25/1 at William Hill, which we wouldn’t want to take on.
St Johnstone v Rangers
The second of our Dec 22 Scottish Premiership betting tips is St Johnstone v Rangers. The Saints endured a slow start to the season and looked every inch a side destined for the bottom-six this term. They have bounced back to get their campaign on-track however, and in some style too. A favourable run of results lifted the Perth team to sixth; with 16 games on the board they had a record 8-4-4 and were within three points of Rangers in second place. This really is sizing up to be a competitive renewal of the Scottish top-flight and, at present, any of seven or eight teams could finish in the top two.
The Saints followed back-to-back draws against Killie and Hearts with a cracking win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie on 8 December, leaving the granite city with all three points thanks to a 2-0 score. Shaughnessy got his employers ahead on 71 minutes and that advantage was doubled when Alston hit a second less than three minutes later. Manager Tommy Wright told members of the press at full-time the result proved just how far his side have come on in a season, having struggled against The Dons last term.
Gers Need a Big Performance
Rangers were poor in the opening few weeks of December; they put in a run of results that saw them lose their position at the top of the Premiership and drop out of the Europa League at the conclusion of the group stages. It was a bitterly disappointing time for manager Steven Gerrard who fancied his side good enough to get through and bag a place in the money-spinning knockout stages of European football’s second-string competition.
The troubles started when losing at home to Aberdeen in a match that saw both teams reduced to 10 men. Then came that toothless performance at Dens Park where they couldn’t beat bottom of the league who had 10 men for most of the match. Finally, they needed to beat Rapid Vienna away in game six but spurned a host of opportunities to take the lead before being floored by a sucker-punch. New faces will arrive in January to help get them back on-track. Gers hammered St Johnstone 5-1 at Ibrox earlier this season, but this will be tighter. Although bookies favour Rangers for the win at 11/20 Bet365, we’d suggest backing the draw at 16/5 at Will Hill. The St. Johnstone win is priced at 5/1 at Bet365.