Rangers and Hearts will fight it out at Hampden Park in their Scottish League Cup showdown, with the winner meeting Celtic in the final.
Rangers are quite literally pushing Celtic all the way in the Scottish Premiership, and in many ways, the race has only just begun. They’ve got a thrilling attacking line-up that continues to help them tear through every team in Scottish football. Steven Gerrard seems to have introduced the right amount of chaos into this football club, and while there’s still a long way to go, he definitely feels like the right man to lead the revolution that seems to be taking place at Ibrox.
In the Europa League things have been touch and go with a loss to Young Boys and an intriguing draw to Porto, but in the Premiership, they’ve been going strong. They drew with Hearts in the league, and tore through Ross County & Hamilton with a nice yet narrow win over Motherwell.
Hearts have spent the last few years going from potential top two contenders to becoming a side that is struggling to make any real waves in the Premiership. Now, they’re lingering towards the bottom of the table, even though they’ve already proven that they’re capable of mixing it up with the big dogs. They’ve got a few match winners within their ranks and for this semi-final, they’ll hope that they can get off to a fast start that will give them something to defend.
Hearts were able to draw with Rangers in the league just a few short weeks ago, and also secured draws against Livingston, St Mirren and Aberdeen. In their other two games in their last six they dropped narrow defeats to St Johnstone and Kilmarnock, as the search for a win gets even more frantic.
The pressure is on Rangers to set up the Old Firm derby, and we think they’ll be able to live up to that. Hearts have proven before that they’re able to cause a bit of a stir in games such as these, but we just feel like it’s going to be a step too far here. Hearts are going to open their game up and allow Rangers to come after them, pushing for the counter attack in the process. It’ll be a semi-final to remember that’s for sure, but Hearts won’t be making their way through to the final hurdle.
Goals are to be expected in a showdown of this magnitude, which is why we’re backing the over 2.5 goal bracket as these two sides go to war. While the League Cup may not be the most highly valued competition in European or even Scottish football, it serves as another opportunity to win some silverware.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 2/7 and the over 2.5 goals scored at odds of 13/20. (All odds are taken from bet365).