The final round of games before the winter break in Scotland sees Celtic welcome Motherwell to Glasgow in a tantalising clash at the top of the Scottish Premier League.
With a two-and-a-half week hiatus on the horizon for all Scottish clubs after Wednesday’s fixtures, the defending champions will be well aware that three points against Motherwell will put them in a commanding position when the league restarts towards the end of January.
Celtic currently hold a six-point advantage over both Motherwell and Inverness Caledonian Thistle having played a game less and with his side still competing on four fronts in 2013, Neil Lennon will be keen to finish the first half of the campaign on a winning note.
This sentiment will be especially true after the Hoops lost their first game since the end of November in all competitions on Saturday afternoon away to Hibernian.
The 1-0 defeat came about thanks to Leigh Griffiths’ early strike, which was the first goal that the leaders had conceded in five games and only the third time they had let the opposition score in the first half.
This remarkable defensive solidity in the opening 45 minutes of games is why bwin is offering 7/10 on them to lead at half-time on Wednesday and 4/25 against both sides scoring in the first half as well.
In the 3-way betting market, Celtic are even more heavily backed, with 3/10 available on a home win, while any other result seems highly unlikely as the draw is priced at 15/4 and Motherwell, despite their proximity to Celtic in the league, are 29/4 to earn three points.
The reason for such long odds on the away side can be easily explained by their recent record against Celtic, which, put bluntly, is atrocious.
Well have lost their last seven meetings with the Glasgow side and have not won at Celtic Park on any of the previous eight occasions, failing to score in the most recent five of those games.
The odds on Motherwell failing to score for a sixth game in a row at Celtic Park are 17/20 and you can also find 21/20 on Celtic winning with a clean sheet.
The only previous clash between the two sides this season was at Fir Park and saw both of those scenarios as it ended in a 2-0 victory for Celtic thanks to goals from Gary Hooper and an own goal by Motherwell defender Adam Cummins, who was later sent off to complete a miserable afternoon for the Steelmen.
Stuart McCall will hope his side fare better this time around and despite their recent results against Celtic, Well do have an extremely strong away record this season having only lost twice, but it would take a brave punter to bet against a Celtic win.