Tuesday, October 26, 2010

League Cup Quarter Finals Preview

Quarter final time in the Co-operative Insurance Cup this midweek. The lesser of our major competitions. Still nice to win it though.

And it would be even nicer to get through these games without the merest hint of a refereeing controversy. Please.

Aberdeen v Falkirk
As the last lower division club left in the draw Falkirk will have been happy to get Aberdeen, a team that has turned cup embarrassments into something of a specialist subject of late. The Dons got past Raith to lay a few ghosts to rest in the last round though and put in an improved performance in dealing with Hibs on Saturday.

Falkirk will be out to build on Saturday’s thumping win over Queen of the South and to prove that their removal from the SPL is only temporary. Beating Hearts in the last round was quite a statement of intent.

Mark McGhee’s not being without his problems of late but he seems to see the offer of redemption in the road to Hampden so it’s unlikely he’ll leave much to chance tonight. For that reason, Aberdeen to win.

Motherwell v Dundee United
As you were folks. I’m tempted to just point you in the direction of last weekend’s SPL preview as much of what I said there still applies to this knockout rematch.

By all accounts United were less than impressive on Saturday and I’d expect an improvement tonight. I still think Motherwell will edge it though.

Tonight’s referee is Willie Collum. Craig Brown has watched a lot of football, talks some nonsense but also has a lot to say that people should listen to. Here’s his verdict on Collum’s Old Firm performance:

"I watched the game and thought the referee was very good," said Brown. "He was put in a hell of a position before the match. He could have ordered two players off right at the beginning of the game, but I give him credit. He used discretion, he was firm and he was positive."

Just saying.

Kilmarnock v Rangers
Way back in August Kilmarnock lost only 2-1 at Ibrox on the opening day of the season. Since then Rangers are undefeated in a competitions and Kilmarnock have shown that they won’t be the relegation fodder some predicted without actually getting the results some of their performances have merited.

Strangely Killie have lost five of their SPL games 2-1. I think Rangers might get a few more than that tomorrow though. A comfortable away win.

St Johnstone v Celtic
The first of a double header between these two and our quarter final televisual spectacular. For anyone living on a distant planet Celtic lost the Old Firm game at the weekend and aren’t all that happy about it.

If there’s any lingering hangovers about the defeat to Rangers then St Johnstone is probably not the best place to go and the Saints have a bit of cup pedigree over the last few seasons.

I can’t see past a fairly routine Celtic victory though. And Neil Lennon might just get another chance to outfox Walter Smith in the semi final.

* A few more words of wisdom about Celtic, the Old Firm and the League Cup on A Different League.