Pre-match with A Celtic State of Mind – Hibs at Easter Road

KEVIN GRAHAM:

It’s fair to say that Easter Road hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for us in the last few years. Brendan Rodgers never managed a victory there. Leith has been a graveyard of dropped points in forgettable away kits.

Both clubs are now in completely different places. Hibs are whimpering at the foot of the table and Celtic are looking for their seventh league win in-a-row and scoring goals.

Then we have the midweek games. We rested eight players and Hibs played extra-time on a plastic pitch before winning on penalties. It’s short odds on a Celtic victory and it’s not difficult to see why.

Football doesn’t always follow logic, though. We need to bear that in mind when we take to the field and the players will be well-drilled, informed and reminded of this. We now have something of a starting 11 and, with no injuries, we should see the familiar faces in familiar positions, which should result in this season’s familiar victory.

FansBet prediction:

First goal is crucial and, if we get it, I think we will win 3-0 with Forrest scoring at anytime.

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COLIN WATT:

Fresh from the Glasgow Derby victory over Partick Thistle, Saturday’s trip to Easter Road will be a different challenge for Neil Lennon’s side.

Hibs’ form of late has not been great at all, with only one win in their opening six league games and, having played 120 minutes on Wednesday night, this game is probably the last thing they wanted, but I’m sure the Easter Road faithful will be behind their side to try and cause an upset.

After making eight changes for the Partick tie, I would expect almost the same for Saturday’s clash, with the likes of Jullien, Brown, Edouard, Forrest, Boli and co. returning to the line-up. One man who looks desperate to stay involved is Scott Sinclair and he will hope to push Elyounoussi for that starting berth on the left-hand side.

I feel if Celtic score early this could be a routine victory, however, Hibs always raise their game for a clash with the champions, so it’s a hard one to call.

FansBet prediction:

Celtic to win 3-1 and Rogic to score anytime.

ALAN MORRISON:

Despite the relative lack of success Celtic have experienced at Easter Road in recent times, current form points strongly to the champions having the upper hand.

Hibs won their first SPFL match of the season and have yet to win since. Their last league outing was a traumatic derby loss in the last minute. Since then they have had to endure 120 minutes on Kilmarnock’s plastic, with ultimate penalty victory.

The Hibees have scored just 5 goals and conceded a whopping 15. Celtic are averaging 3.5 goals per SPFL match and only 0.67 against.

No side concedes as many shots as Hibs – they have allowed 100. This is 11 more than any other side. Celtic have, with pleasing numerical symmetry, managed 100 shots. The Hoops’ conversion rate is a difficult-to-maintain 21% – league leading. In contrast, Hibs have converted only 9% of their shots. Both should regress to a more normal level over time.

Celtic need to show patience. Hibs have conceded an incredible 9 goals in the last 20 minutes – 4 more than any other team. Also, the Hoops are the only side to win 2 matches from losing positions. So, don’t get frustrated if it is level or worse into the second half.

FansBet prediction:

Celtic to break Hibs down over the 90, I’d go for 2-0 with Forrest to score.

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