Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Midweek medley

As the dust settles on an SPL weekend that saw significant results at both the top and the bottom, we can take a breather this midweek and concentrate once again on the Active Nations Scottish Cup.

Aberdeen v Raith Rovers

Will the real Aberdeen please stand up? A draw against Raith at home threatened to join the increasingly long list of joke Aberdeen cup results. They follow that up with a draw at third placed Hibs before sticking four past Celtic in a thrilling draw at Pittodrie. Consistent only in their unpredictability, this is a squad that must be driving the supporters to distraction.

So anything could happen tonight but it probably won’t. Having had their 90 minutes in the sun back in Fife I think Raith will put up a brave fight before capitulating. And so the Dons will march on to play Dundee in what could be the fixture to watch in the quarter finals.

Rangers v St Mirren

To vanquish Rangers you have to take chances when they come along. That is true in 90 minutes (Motherwell were always likely to need a cushion of more than a solitary goal going into the final half hour last Wednesday, Hibs needed to take advantage when they had more of the match in the first half at Ibrox on Sunday) or over two games (as Hamilton proved in the last round.)

And so St Mirren, for whom cup competitions are a welcome distraction from the business of losing league games, have probably missed the opportunity for a famous win. They really dominated the first game but they couldn’t make the breakthrough that would have counted. Rangers will make them pay for that tomorrow night.

I actually think Rangers win over Hibs will be a bit of a watershed for them. With a lot of players hitting fitness at the same time and with a mini wobble (back to back draws is a mini wobble when you’re ten points clear) survived they’ll be raring to go now. With a treble chance looming ahead I really can’t see them losing many games.

Can St Mirren’s cup charm hold up for one more night? I’m afraid I don’t think so. Another comfortable home win.

St Johnstone v Hibs

The one SPL game of this midweek, having orginally fallen victim to the snow. Hibs' defeat at Rangers on Sunday not only ended talk of a title challenge it also made the challenge for third place slightly uncomfortable. St Johnstone’s defeat at Kilmarnock continued their dodgy run of luck but also brought the bottom of the table slightly too close for comfort.

So a cagey game with both sides going for a draw that would buy breathing space. Unlikely with these two. It’s one each in the clashes played so far this season but I can see Hibs turning the screw here and getting the win that they’ll be hoping will at least prove their resilience.