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Football: Tannadice flag-kick quote looks to be on the high side.

Byline: KEVIN PULLEIN

IT might just be worth risking a sell of corners in the televised lunchtime SPL game between Dundee United and Celtic. You can get short at 11.25 with Sporting.

The raw numbers are encouraging. The average number of corners in Celtic games since Gordon Strachan became manager has been 9.

The average number of corners in Dundee United games since Craig Brewster became manager has been 11.1.

In other words, at first sight there does appear to be a case for questioning whether the flag-kick expectation at Tannadice today should really be as high as 11.25.

On closer examination, admittedly, the case becomes much less clear-cut.

It is possible that Celtic's style of play may change with the new players they have brought in during this season.

If you are going to buy someone like Jan Venegoor of Hesselink, you might as well try to get the ball to him.

In none of Celtic's last three SPL games have there been fewer than 11 corners, though in none of them was the total higher than 12.

We have to acknowledge that the average of nine corners in Celtic's games under Strachan is exceptionally low, and there is no evidence from his managerial career in England to suggest that his teams will always produce small corners make-ups.

In addition, Dundee United in recent seasons have tended to become involved in games with exceptionally large corner tallies, even if they haven't done so during the last few months under Brewster.

If Celtic's last few games give a reliable indication of how they will perform from now on, Sporting's spread would be appropriate. But it may be worth taking a chance that they do not.

I will be brutally honest. We are now two months into the season and there has not yet been a single spread that seemed as though it could be opposed with confidence.

It has been a question of quibbling over a minute difference here, and a minute difference there, and nearly always having been proved wrong to do so.

The suggestion that you might like to get short of corners at Tannadice today is proffered with the same grave reservations - it is only a quibble - and as the trade has the potential to go badly wrong stakes should be kept to a rock-bottom minimum.

The price may be a tad high, however.

Recommendation

Sell Dundee United v Celtic corners 2pts at 11.25 Sporting

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Gordon Strachan: no history of low corner tallies
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 14, 2006
Words:422
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