To coin a favourite Scottish phrase, St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas’ job is on a very shoogly peg right now.
Already unpopular with the fans following a run of 14 competitive games without a win which has left St. Johnstone propping up the SPL table after five games, Lomas was further stung this week when Scottish tabloid The Daily Record printed accusations of sexual assault against him by a former receptionist at the club.
Although they remain purely allegations at this stage, it is a distraction that the under-pressure Northern Irishman could certainly do without.
St. Johnstone haven’t beaten Celtic at McDiarmid Park since a 1-0 win in May 1999 and despite a shock 1-0 win at Celtic Park last season under Derek McInnes, Dave MacKay’s goal that day is the only time they have scored against the Hoops in any of their last seven encounters.
His team have managed as many red cards as they have goals this season, finding the net just twice so far and having Rowan Vine and Gregory Tade ordered off as the frustration mounts.
This lack of goals is even more of a concern given that Lomas ploughed almost all of his summer budget into his frontline, adding Vine, Tade, Nigel Hasselbaink, and Craig Beattie without seeing any real return for his money so far.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Lomas was forced to cancel training this week after seven of his squad contracted a mystery virus.
And on top of their struggles this season, the weight of history is against St Johnstone too.
They haven’t beaten Celtic at McDiarmid Park since a 1-0 win in May 1999, the first season of the Scottish Premier League, and despite a shock 1-0 win at Celtic Park last season under Derek McInnes, Dave MacKay’s goal that day is the only time they have scored against the Hoops in any of their last seven encounters.
On Saturday they face a Celtic side gearing up for Champions League football against the likes of Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow, and a side that hasn’t lost a game in any competition this season, winning six and drawing two.
Taking the home side’s powderpuff attack and poor form into account, there are two bets that really stand out in this one. St Johnstone are 9/10 to fire a blank again on Saturday while Celtic are 23/20 to win the game to nil.
New customers who sign up to bwin online qualify for a free £20 bet and using that to back Celtic to win to nil will return £43 if successful.
In the 3-way betting market it is no wonder that Celtic are as short as 2/5 to win the game with St Johnstone out at 25/4. The draw is 3/1, but there hasn’t been a draw between the teams since May 2000 – 19 games ago.
New customers to bwin can click here to claim their free £20 bet or click here to see all our SPL odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwin