Kick-off: 1230, 11/08/2018
TV: Sky Sports
Celtic’s Champions League draw with AEK Athens could boost Hearts’ hopes of upsetting the odds in Saturday’s televised Scottish Premiership clash.
The Hoops will surely now have one eye on next week’s crucial return fixture in Greece, rather than focusing entirely on this tricky Tynecastle trip.
We’re snapping up 3/2 for the Jambos to avoid defeat as our first Hearts vs Celtic prediction.
A Look At Hearts’ Betting Odds
Hearts secured a solid sixth-place finish last term and have started the new campaign in promising fashion.
They followed up 5-0 League Cup triumphs over Cowdenbeath and Inverness by prevailing 4-1 at Hamilton in this competition.
There was nothing in it at half-time, but Steven Naismith’s penalty put the Jambos in front, before Peter Haring completed his brace and Steven MacLean wrapped up the win.
Wise old heads such as Naismith, MacLean and Christophe Berra give Hearts a strong spine and that will stand them in good stead here.
Manager Craig Levein said: “It’s not the way I would have liked the game to have gone but, in hindsight, maybe it’s not a bad thing we had to dig in and turn the scoreline around.
“It makes us feel quite good about doing that. I feel we can score goals and there are signs we could improve and do better this season than we did last season.”
Hearts have lost nine of their last 10 games against Celtic, but a 4-0 romp at this venue in December did buck the trend.
A Look At Celtic’s Betting Odds
Celtic began their domestic season with a smooth 3-1 success versus newly-promoted Livingston but faced a much tougher midweek test in Glasgow.
The Hoops went ahead after 17 minutes through Callum McGregor but a well-organised AEK Athens side levelled two minutes before the break and held on for a draw despite going down to 10 men before the hour mark.
“We were disappointed,” said McGregor. “When they went down to 10 men, you anticipate going on to score a few goals and win the game.
“Credit to AEK, though. They set out their stall and made it difficult. We had a few shots and crosses but it never quite fell for us.”
Reaching the group stage of Europe’s elite club competition is always a major target for Celtic and Tuesday’s second leg will be a big distraction.
A good start would give the Jambos the chance of an upset and 2/1 for the hosts to score first completes our Hearts vs Celtic betting tips.
Hamilton 1-4 HEARTS – Peter Haring (2), Steven Naismith (pen), Steven MacLean
CELTIC 1-1 AEK Athens – Callum McGregor
Head-to-head: Hearts 1-3 Celtic, Celtic 3-1 Hearts, Hearts 4-0 Celtic, Celtic 4-1 Hearts, Celtic 2-0 Hearts, Hearts 0-5 Celtic
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