After winning the Scottish Premier League title, Glasgow Celtic will be looking to complete the domestic double as they take on Hibernian in the final of the 2013 Scottish FA Cup. The big match kicks off on May 26th 2013 at Hampden Park and it will be the Bhoys who will be going as firm favourites. They have won the Scottish Cup 35 times before in their illustrious history, the most by any Scottish club. The last time they got their hands on the Scottish FA Cup was back in 2011 as Hearts went all the way in the tournament last season. In a repeat of last season’s final, the defending champions went up against their Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in the fourth round, and it was Hibs who gained some revenge, the win helping to propel them along their way to the final.
The semi finals were dramatic affairs for both Celtic and Hibernian as both needed extra time to make it through to the final. Hibernian were up first against Falkirk and it was a late winner in the 115th minute, deep into extra time, scored by Leigh Griffiths (his second of the game) that was the crucial goal for Hibs. It was a pretty remarkable comeback as well for Hibs, who were three nil down in the match after just thirty minutes, and it wasn’t until seven minutes from the end of regulation time that they eventually got their equaliser. It was by the same scoreline, 4-3 after extra time, that took Celtic past the challenge of Dundee United. Celtic had traded blows with Dundee United through the match, unable to pull away and the game was eventually settled in the 103rd minute by Anthony Stokes for the Bhoys.
For Hibs, they are on the hunt for their first Scottish Cup title since 1902, so it has been a long wait for them to add to their tally of two. The Easter Road outfit may be able to take some confidence from the fact that they didn’t let Celtic get the better of them in their two Scottish Premier League meetings during the 2012/13 season. Hibs took a 2-2 draw at Celtic Park back at the start of September 2012, and in the reverse fixture, took a 1-0 win over the Champions elect. So Hibernian will be able to carry some confidence through with them, especially as Celtic have struggled somewhat through this season’s Scottish FA Cup.
Neil Lennon’s men needed a replay to get themselves past Arbroath in the Fourth Round of the competition, and were pushed hard by St Mirren in the quarter finals, and then by Dundee United in the semi’s as mentioned above. Still, at the end of the day it is hard to ignore the difference in standings between the two clubs in the Scottish Premier League season, with Celtic taking the title easily and Hibs struggling in the bottom half of the table. But will the underdogs be able to grab their chance in the spotlight on May 26th 2013?
Glasgow Celtic are Scotland’s most successful side in the history of the Scottish FA Cup, winning 35 titles previously. So they are gunning for their 36th in the competition this season but they failed to capture the title last season, so surprises of course do happen. Despite the dominance of the two Glasgow giants, Celtic and Rangers in the Scottish domestic scene, it was Heart of Midlothian who broke through the ranks last season to claim their 8th Scottish FA Cup title. But the reigning champions fell in the third round this season against Hibernian in their title defence, so who are likely to follow in their footsteps in the 2012/13 Scottish FA Cup? That was a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final, in which Hearts crushed Hibernian 5-1.
The bookmakers have placed a high focus on Celtic of course, not only given their status in the competition, but they are the top side in Scotland. It was against Hearts that Celtic lost at the semi final stage of last season’s competition. So they are beatable and Celtic haven’t didn’t have things particularly easy in the early stages of this year’s competition. After a 1-1 home tie against Arbroath in the third round, they edged through the replay by a 1-0 scoreline. With an away tie against Raith Rovers in the fourth round, there are no certainties in the Cup. But Celtic are favourites, and overwhelming ones at that. Another consideration is that the Glasgow club have a distraction of Champions League knockout football to contend with this season too, so that could hinder their Scottish FA Cup progress and open the door for someone else.
Dundee United are trading as second favourites to go on and take the cup this term. The 2009/10 FA Cup winners are a middle table side the Scottish Premier League and they were drawn against Rangers in the fourth round. Glasgow Rangers, despite sitting in the Scottish Third division, makes for some interesting value in the Cup. While league duties for them may be a bit run of the mill, they will want to prove that their great standing in Scottish football hasn’t waned. They will relish taking on Premier League side clubs again, and out in the mid-teens for value in the 2012/13 Scottish FA Cup betting market, may be worth looking at. The last time they tasted FA Cup success was back in 2009, and although an outside shot, they will make tough opponents.
Attention though will be on the stronger Premier League sides of course, like Hibernian, Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Because Celtic are such strong favourites there is tremendous value in backing any of the other challengers, just to cause a surprise in the Cup. It hasn’t happened too often in recent times thanks to Celtic and Rangers, but recent wins for Dundee United and Hearts in the tournament do offer some windows of opportunity.
The Scottish Premier League, without the presence of Glasgow Rangers this season has gradually petered out to a one horse race. Without too much surprise, it is Celtic who are overwhelming favourites to take the Scottish League title this season. Fortunately though, with Inverness and Motherwell having great seasons under their belts, it has at least kept some interest alive as they try to spring a massive surprise on the Glasgow giants. Amid rumours of a shake up in the league tiers, the race for the Scottish Premier League title is being dominated in the betting league market by Celtic. With there being no value at all in backing reigning Scottish Champions Celtic to take what would be their 44th League title, and with nearest challengers Inverness and Motherwell being lengthily priced, there is some value around elsewhere.
With Celtic expected to run away with the title, the market of Scottish Premier League 2012/13 Without Celtic To Win Outright offers a much more valuable and competitive market. As mentioned, it is Motherwell and Inverness who have mounted the biggest challenges this season to step out of the shadow of the departed Glasgow Rangers. While no-one has been able to match the defensive qualities of Celtic this term, Inverness have shown a tremendous eye for goal in the Scottish Premier League this season. They look to be the genuine challengers and have created something big for themselves to build upon. It has been a great season from Inverness who failed to win any of their first seven matches of the new season, but have since exploded into form. Inverness Caledonian Thistle, formed just in 1994 have never gotten their hands on the Premier League. The mark of their step forward can be seen in their progress after finishing 10th last season.
But bookmakers are still fancying Motherwell to be the ones to come through and take second spot in the Scottish Premier League. The Well have only ever won the Scottish League title once in their history, and although they aren’t likely to win it this term, their experience of taking third place in the league behind the two Glasgow giants last season, could put them in good stead to just last the distance and edge out Inverness. Hibernian, Aberdeen and Dundee United are the other sides in the race who the bookmakers are most concerned about. Any strong run from either of those teams could shake up the league standings. But they all have to catch and overhaul the form of Inverness and Motherwell, both of which offer some decent value in Scottish Premier League 2012/13 Without Celtic To Win Outright.