Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's in store? The Co-op Cup

A midweek prediction special as Scottish football's least revered competition reaches the quarter final stage.

Dundee v Rangers

Rangers rediscovered some vim on Saturday but, crucially, still couldn't overcome Hibs. This is a poor Rangers side further distracted by off the field disasters. Quite a contrast to Dundee who are flying high and luxuriating in new found riches. Walter Smith will be keen to give Jocky Scott's dark blues due respect but he's also got a small squad struggling to cope with injuries and further domestic and European tests looming. So we can expect a weakened Rangers team coming up against a Dundee team full of confidence and momentum. A shock is not guaranteed but it's a distinct possibility. Home win.

St Johnstone v Dundee United

United go into the Tayside derby on the back of a convincing performance in the "New Firm" game at the weekend while St Johnstone were well beaten by a Kevin Kyle inspired Kilmarnock. The Saints have a strong cup record in recent seasons while United and boss Craig Levein are desperate to land some silverware and will fancy getting the job done this season with both Rangers and Celtic faltering. St Johnsone will try and play their usual game but United are, as ever, likely to be organised and physically stronger. Away win.

St Mirren v Motherwell

After sharing six goals and some heady attacking play on Saturday Motherwell make the trip back to Paisley tonight. I had backed Motherwell on Saturday and was perhaps guilty of underestimating St Mirren's apparent rebirth as free scoring, attacking force. I'm still impressed by Motherwell this season though and pulling themselves back into the game on Saturday is proof of a certain resilience. I'm going for the away win but I think it could be an extra time affair.

Celtic v Hearts (BBC on Wednesday)

Celtic are back atop the league following a 2-1 boreathon against Hamilton on Sunday. Hearts were held to a goalless draw at home to Falkirk on Saturday. Current form does not bode well for a scintillating game on Wednesday night. Hearts are in that horrible place where a lack of goals is making the players tetchy and the crowd restless. Celtic are in that horrible place where the manager doesn't like his players, the players don't like the manager and the fans are confused but feel they shouldn't like somebody. You would predict are nervy, tense and low scoring match but Celtic cut loose against Falkirk in the last round and might just do the same here. Close or not this is a home win.

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