Hibernian took advantage of Rangers being between managers to book their place in this final a month ago, but their overall form leaves a lot to be desired. That was just one of three victories they’ve managed since the start of October (W3-D2-L7), including a further two defeats by Rangers and another inflicted by Celtic themselves.
This sequence of results has coincided with a groin injury suffered by midfielder Kyle Magennis, who has seen his injury woes continue after missing almost the whole of last season as well.
By way on contrast, Hibs had started the campaign by winning six of nine unbeaten domestic matches in which he featured. In better news, they are expecting both defender Chris Cadden and forward Kevin Nisbet to be available after the duo had to be taken off last time out.
Hibs are unbeaten in their last two outings under caretaker boss David Gray, though it’s worth noting that those fixtures only saw them take on struggling outfits St. Mirren and Dundee.
It’s also rather ominous that their semi-final win over Rangers is their only one from their past 25 meetings with the Old Firm duo, including defeats in 11 of the last 16, so it’s understandable they start this one as heavy underdogs.
Celtic may have a few injury problems and particularly in attack, but they continue to march on as they recorded a sixth straight victory against Ross County on Wednesday.
Celtic To Win And Under 2.5 Goals
They’ve now won 14 of 16 matches since the start of October, only losing a narrow clash away to Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League, as they now carry some serious momentum.
The Hoops have had to make do without a recognized striker in their last two matches. Kyogo Furuhashi, Albian Ajeti and Giorgos Giakoumakis are all sidelined, so Ange Postecoglou utilized David Turnbull as a false nine against Motherwell and started Liel Abada down the middle against Ross County.
The Israeli did find the net in that last appearance, though with fellow wingers Jota, James Forrest and Mikey Johnston all suffering injuries, Abada’s services may be required out wide.
Although Celtic are undeniably in excellent form, they’ve only scored more than twice in two of their past eight matches now, and in three of their past 13 domestically.
Meanwhile, six of Hib’s last seven matches have seen fewer than three goals, including each of the past five.
In fact, over half of these games saw just a single strike, so they’ll hope to limit Celtic offensively given the Hoops’ absentees up top.
Moreover, six of the last eight League Cup finals since the 2013/14 season have seen fewer than three goals, as at least one team failed to score in all but one of these.
On the five occasions where Celtic have reached the showpiece event over this period, they’ve kept a clean sheet every time, with four of them finishing 1-0 or 2-0.
CELTIC TO WIN AND UNDER 2.5 GOALS