Saturday, February 05, 2011

Scottish Cup 5th Round Part One

News filters through that St Johnstone's fifth round clash with Partick Thistle has been postponed.

If only we had a January shut-down all these call offs and bad weather in February could be so easily avoided.

So only five games to enjoy today.

Hamilton v Dundee United

An all SPL clash. Hamilton could have moved off the bottom of the table in midweek. Instead they found themselves cast further adrift. At such times does the cup become a unwanted drain on resources or a welcome distraction from the less than glamorous business of scrapping for survival?

Back in the day a dash of cup romance might have provided everyone with some comfort, lifted the spirits. Now, with the financial hardships of relegation so severe, it might be that the cup just gets in the way. Nobody will admit that but it could be the case.

Anyway that won't bother the fans who will be looking for a decent performance against the cup holders. United, despite a season that has really been neither one thing nor the other, will be looking at the remaining teams and fancying another decent run.

They should progress today. Away win.

Ayr v St Mirren

In the stunningly simplistic way that footer doesn't work we can take recent experience against Hibs and award Ayr a 3-0 win here.

Losing at Easter Road on Wednesday, a game they never looked like winning, was evidence of how hard a slog the rest of the season is going to be for St Mirren.

This is the sort of game Ayr will relish. With the advantage of Somerset Park I'm backing them to pull off another big result. Home win.

Buckie Thistle v Brechin City

One man's misfortune is another man's etc etc.

It had looked that Buckie's last contribution to this year's tournament would be two of their players fighting with each other as they were felled by East Stirling.

And then a reprieve. We could talk long into the night about the rights and wrongs of East Stirling being tossed out of the Scottish Cup. But they were and Buckie are back to fight another day.

Brechin will be an imposing challenge, sitting third in the Second Division. But. Player fights, a late reprieve. Buckie are going Hollywood in this Scottish Cup. So my heart says a happy ending today. Home win.

Inverness v Morton

Not been an easy run for Inverness in the league of late. Morton are mid table in the First Division but undefeated in the last six competitive games. I would still fancy Inverness to have too much today though. Home win.

Stranraer v Motherwell

Stranraer's last two games have been seven goal thrillers. They beat Stenhousemuir by the odd goal in the cup but lost out by the same score to Arbroath in the league.

I can't see Motherwell offering them quite the same largesse in front of goal so it will be up to The Blues to tighten up their own defence.

Motherwell signed Francis Jeffers this week although he won't feature it today. I mention it because it struck me more as the answer to a "where are they now" question than a transfer. It also suggests the level of Stuart McCall's frustration at his inability to strengthen in January.

What McCall wants more than anything is a run of results. He should at least get the win today. Away win.

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