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Scottish Cup quarter-finals preview: Celtic eye fast start at Tynecastle

Four huge games lie ahead over the course of the weekend as the Scottish Cup quarter-finals take place, with Celtic's trip to Edinburgh to face Hearts on Saturday the pick of the ties.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle welcome Kilmarnock to the Highlands on Friday evening for the last eight curtain-raiser, while holders Rangers have home comforts for the visit of Championship side Raith Rovers on Sunday.

Completing the quartet on Monday evening will be the visit of Championship title contenders Ayr United to League One high-flyers Falkirk.

Entering the quarter-final weekend, Celtic are favourites at 11/10 to win the Scottish Cup, with Rangers priced at 15/8 to hold on to the silverware. Hearts are 10/1, with 12/1 Killie completing the list of four remaining top-flight contenders. 

Inverness are trading 16/1 to hoist the cup, with Ayr at 25/1 and Falkirk at 50/1, while Raith are outsiders of the bunch at 100/1 ahead of a daunting trip to Ibrox. 

McInnes eyes Killie return to Hampden

WhatInverness CT v Kilmarnock 
WhereCaledonian Stadium, Inverness
When19.45, Friday 10th March
How to watchBBC Scotland
OddsInverness CT 23/10, Draw 12/5, Kilmarnock 1/1

Boss Derek McInnes wants to secure an historic achievement from Kilmarnock as the Premiership strugglers get set for a journey north to face Inverness in the Highlands on Friday evening. 

The former Aberdeen boss - who has been to the final with the Dons - says Killie should be "putting a demand on ourselves" to win the Scottish Cup this season.

Further, they've already been to the last four of the Viaplay Cup, losing to Celtic, and McInnes admits that the first objective for the Ayrshire club is to get back to the semi-finals. 

Inverness are sixth in the Championship, but stunned top-flight Livingston 3-0 in the previous round and beat Killie three times when they were both in the second tier last season.

Kilmarnock have only taken one point from nine in the league lately, while their previous round win over Dundee United came against a ten-man home side. 

Caley Thistle come into this off the back of a fine away-day win at Ayr and the 2015 Scottish Cup winners have a fine pedigree in knockout football, ensuring they look like a bit of value at 23/10 in the Full Time Result market.

Jambos need to avoid slow start 

WhatHearts v Celtic 
WhereTynecastle, Edinburgh
When12.15, Saturday 11th March
How to watchViaplay Sports
OddsHearts 7/1, Draw 5/1, Celtic 3/10

Hearts and Celtic renew rivalry on Saturday, with the Hoops having survived the concession of an early goal at Parkhead on Wednesday evening as they ran out 3-1 winners on league duty. 

Robbie Neilson felt aggrieved at some of the decisions that went against his side in Glasgow and the Hearts boss will want a reaction from his team.

Games against the Old Firm at Tynecastle this season have promised plenty and delivered little for Hearts, with Celtic and Rangers scoring inside 15 minutes of kick-off in each of three league games at the Gorgie venue.

When the Hoops were here in October, Hearts played their part in a seven-goal cracker, but they were aided by two Lawrence Shankland penalties that afternoon and ultimately lost when Greg Taylor popped up with the winner. 

Celtic are 2/7 in the Full Time Result market for this cup tie and, given the propensity of the home side for early concessions, taking the 4/5 Celtic Half-time/Full time looks dependable enough, as Ange Postecoglou's side will aim to take care of business early on in what could otherwise become a tricky afternoon. 

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Gers in for an easy afternoon 

WhatRangers v Raith Rovers
WhereIbrox Stadium, Glasgow
When13.00, Sunday 12th March 
How to watchViaplay Sports 
OddsRangers 1/14, Draw 9/1, Raith 18/1

Raith stunned top-flight Motherwell 3-0 in the previous round, but a trip to holders Rangers is going to be an altogether tougher assignment, reflected in odds of 18/1 for the visitors in the Full Time Result market.

The Gers have been good since Michael Beale succeeded Giovanni van Bronckhorst, with the recent League Cup final defeat to Celtic their only reverse under his guidance.

The Light Blues have responded to that Hampden disappointment by scoring seven goals in wins over Kilmarnock and Hibs since then.

They are 1/14 to win this one and with the home side in free-scoring mood, over 1.5 First Half Goals at 10/11 looks a solid prospect. 

Ayr could be value for progress 

WhatFalkirk v Ayr United
WhereFalkirk Stadium, Falkirk
When19.45, Monday 13th March
How to watchBBC Scotland 
OddsFalkirk 11/8, Draw 12/5, Ayr 17/10

The final game of the round sees Championship title challengers Ayr heading for Falkirk on Monday evening.

A midweek 3-1 win away at Greenock Morton just about keeps Ayr's title challenge alive and, with 50 goals in 27 games, they are second-top scorers in the Championship and they've scored seven in their previous two Scottish Cup games.

The Bairns, meanwhile come into this having lost a crucial top-of-the-table clash with Dunfermline 2-0 at East End Park last weekend, enough to see an eight-point gap open up between the sides. 

Despite that gap, Falkirk are comfortably the leading scorers in the third tier, with 56 in 27, and Both Teams to Score in this tie is priced at 7/10.

With Falkirk on the back of that major setback to their title hopes, the Honest Men can pile on the misery and Lee Bullen's side are 19/10 To Qualify for the semi-finals. 

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