Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Scottish Cup: Sky's Vultures Circle Hibs

Ayr United v Hibs

The Sky Sports cameras will be at Somerset Park tomorrow night. Not, I think, to savour the surroundings or in anticipation of a cracking game of football.

No. The Honest Men are hosting Sky because they scent an upset. The vultures are circling ready to feast on the corpse of Hibs’ season.

Totally shiteing oneself would be the vernacular description of the trepidation the Hibs fans will be feeling this evening. Hibs were poor, and probably lucky, in drawing 0-0 with Ayr at Easter Road. They were as bad in losing 3-0 to Celtic on Saturday.

Ayr might fear that they’ve missed their chance. But they’ll be equally aware that a Hibs team stuffed full of men who look like they rue the day they ever became professional footballers are hardly going to be looking at this trip with much enthusiasm.

Ayr looked capable of both frustrating Hibs and springing a surprise two of their own against a now almost permanently shaky defence. That’s a dangerous mix.

On paper Hibs should have enough to get through. But, as the saying goes, football isn’t played on paper.

This could be a long night for the SPL side. Penalties wouldn’t surprise me. And that’s the closest I’ll get to making a prediction.

Morton v Airdrie United

Not a replay this one, but a rescheduled Fourth Round tie. When the game was originally scheduled I backed the draw. Still tempted. But Airdrie’s defence seems porous at the moment. Home win.

Stenhousemuir v Stranraer

Stenhousemuir finally got past Threave Rovers in their much postponed Third Round replay last week. Tough tie tonight though with The Warriors struggling in the Second Division and Stranraer top of the Third Division. Both enjoyed wins at the weekend. We might see this one head back to Stair Park.

Dunfermline v Montrose

An exciting old game at Links Park with Montrose snatching a late draw. A game against Aberdeen awaits the winner. I suspect Dunfermline will get the job done at home tonight.

Falkirk v Partick Thistle

I backed a draw in the first game and got that one right. (It does sometimes happen.) Different preparations for the replay though with Thistle enjoying a 6-1 win over Stirling Albion and Falkirk shipping three goals at home to Queen of the South. Will that make any difference tonight? The Jags to edge another close one.

Peterhead v St Mirren

St Mirren’s season to revolve around the odd good result followed by a run of poor results. Consistency is no friend of Danny Lennon’s side this season. Peterhead warmed up for this one by thumping Livingston 3-0 at home but they too have had a season of fluctuating fortunes. A shock on the cards at the Balmoor Stadium tonight? I think there could be.

Ross County v Dundee United

Had he been more follically blessed Peter Houston might have been tearing his hair out at the various off-field distractions he is enduring. It’s unclear if top scorer David Goodwillie will play any part tonight and I also hear whispers of big boardroom changes.

Ross County have proved before that they relish welcoming midweek SPL visitors to Dingwall. They might fancy another scalp tonight despite their struggles in the league. I suspect United will be able to get the job done with a minimum of fuss though. Away win.

East Stirling v Buckie Thistle (Wednesday)

Another of the rescheduled Fourth Round clashes. My original preview:

It’s the Highland League champions against the second worst team in the Scottish Football League on Sunday. This game could become the rallying call of the pyramid system supporting masses. Stirling haven’t played since they beat Spartans 2-1 in the last round. Which might be better preparation than Buckie have enjoyed after being smashed 7-0 by Deveronvale last Monday. An intriguing one this though, one to keep an eye or ear out for.

They both won last time out though with East Stirling climbing to third bottom of the Third Division. I still fancy Buckie to give them a game. Draw.

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