There is little doubt that Brendan Rodgers has one of the easiest jobs in the world, namely managing a side which has no real opposition and which can utterly dominate in three domestic competitions. This was emphasised when the Hoops completed the treble in 2016/17 and repeated this feat the following season. Nevertheless 2017/18 wasn’t the walk in the park which many expected and at times it looked as though Rangers might close the gap on their arch-rivals, however Rodgers’ men still went on to win the title with a considerable gap between themselves and the rest of the chasing pack and two more trophies were also added in the form of the Scottish Cup and the League cup.
As far as European competition is concerned, Celtic are very much a small fish in a big pond. They have edged past Armenian side Alashkert and Norwegian outfit Rosenborg in the opening two Champions League qualifiers, however they were held to a 1-1 draw by AEK Athens at Celtic Park last time out and their prospects of reaching the group stages of the competition aren’t looking too promising.
Few additions to the squad have arrived at Parkhead over the past few weeks, those of note being restricted to Dundee keeper Scott Bain and PSG forward Odsonne Eduard who was on loan to the Hoops last term. A win over Premiership new-boys Livingston last weekend was an excellent start for Celtic with Eduard adding to the scoresheet on that occasion, however Hearts will provide much tougher opposition and we’re expecting a rough ride for the Scottish champions.
Hearts have been in competitive action four times this season thanks to their involvement in the group stages of the Scottish League Cup, the Jambos banging in fifteen goals along the way. They managed a notable 4-0 win over Celtic last season although ultimately they finished well short of the pace and Craig Levein will be looking for improvement in 2018/19.
There is little doubt that Celtic have gone backwards in recent seasons but their dominance in the domestic game isn’t in doubt and we don’t envisage them slipping-up this weekend. Nevertheless their chances of three points aren’t as clear cut as some would believe and whilst we’ll be siding with them to win on Saturday, we also expect the Jambos to fight them all the way, BetVictor Bookies going 12/5 on Celtic to win and both teams to score.