St Mirren’s horrendous recent record against Celtic has been much-publicised but they will be hoping that a change of competition can bring a change of fortune when they take on Celtic in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Sunday.
As we pointed out the last time the sides met in the SPL just over a month ago, the Buddies have never even scored a goal against Celtic since manager Danny Lennon took control two-and-a-half years ago.
The run encompasses eight matches, during which the Hoops have clocked up an aggregate score of 22-0.
But the last time the sides met in a knock-out game, a Scottish Cup tie back in March 2009, St Mirren triumphed by a single goal to nil, so the Paisley side at least have a thread of hope to cling on to. A thread is all it is though.
Celtic have played two games since returning from their winter break in Marbella and have scored four times in each of them – last Saturday against Hearts and then on Tuesday against Dundee United.
Red-hot front man Gary Hooper, reportedly a transfer target for several Premier League clubs, has hit doubles in both matches, while the defence has conceded just one goal – an unfortunate deflected effort by Hearts’ Jason Holt.
St Mirren, on the other hand, were walloped 4-1 at home to relegation rivals Ross County last weekend and go into the biggest game of their season so far in second-bottom position in the league table and with their confidence at a season-lowest ebb.
This trend of four goals in matches involving the sides could make odds of 12/1 on Celtic to win 4-0 appealing, while a 4-1 scoreline is available at 33/2.
The midweek signing of the exotically-named Portuguese striker Esmael ‘Izma’ Goncalves from Rio Ave could give the Saints a boost (he is eligible to go straight into the squad on Sunday), although it remains to be seen how the Guinea Bissau-born hitman will react to the bleakness of freezing cold mid-January in Glasgow.
Neil Lennon’s men are hungry for success having not picked up the League Cup trophy since 2009 and with the prospect of a domestic treble still very much on the agenda.
And with Hampden just three-and-a-half miles away from Celtic Park, the match will essentially be a home game for Celtic.
The Parkhead club are 3/10 to return the short distance home with a victory in the bag, while St Mirren are 15/2 to pull off a shock of Bradford-esque proportions. A draw, which would result in extra time and the possibility of penalties, is on offer at 15/4.
The best bet as always when these sides meet, however, is to put your money on Celtic to win to nil, which is priced at 21/20. It is a punt which would have paid out in each of the last eight meetings between the sides.
New customers who sign up to bwin qualify for a free £20 bet and using that to back Celtic to win to nil will return £41 if successful.