Wednesday, October 31, 2012

League Cup: History men?

Is the Scottish Communities League Cup moving inexorably towards a Celtic v Rangers clash.

Celtic progressed to the semi final with a minimum of fuss last night, thumping St Johnstone 5-0 at home.

Rangers need to make history to join them, becoming the first Third Division side to reach the league cup semi finals.

We seem to be cocking a snook at history this week.

No sooner had Kilmarnock managed a twice in a lifetime win at Celtic than St Mirren gazumped them with a once in a lifetime cup win in Aberdeen.

A first since before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Archdukes are best advised to avoid the Sarajevo area.

So Celtic and St Mirren are through, Hampden awaits.

Who will join them? Rangers or Inverness, Dundee United or Hearts.

The honest answer: I haven't got a scooby.

Hearts won comfortably on their last trip to Tannadice and they are a point ahead in the league having played two more games.

Both have enjoyed sound wins this season without finding any consistency. And although Hearts managed three goals in their league win over United, neither side has been prolific.

Hearts have scored twelve goals in eleven games, United eleven in nine.

The league form doesn't suggest a cup classic. You might have said the same about Reading and Arsenal.

6-7 remains unlikely tonight. United are 13/10, Hearts 2/1 and the draw 12/5.

I think it could be tight. Both teams are 9/1 to win on penalties, United 10/1 to win after extra time and Hearts 12/1. If it's a lottery at that stage then it could be a generous one.

I'll back half time/full time draw/draw at 4/1. It could be a long night.

And for those who believe in fate: Rudi Skacel is 11/2 first goalscorer and 7/4 to score any time.

What of Rangers and Inverness?

A win over Motherwell in the last round will have proved to Rangers that SPL clubs should hold no fear for them at home.

The trick for Inverness will be to avoid looking as scared of their own shadows as Motherwell did that night.

A few weeks ago I'd have felt that Rangers were big favourites for this one.

Ladbrokes Game On! Now I'm not so sure. Inverness have shown a certain character in building an unbeaten run and have weighed in with a fair whack of goals.

SPL form meets a Third Division club with both a point to prove and a number of players who would get in most SPL teams.

A Rangers win is 21/20, the draw 12/5 and Inverness 5/2.

Those odds are justified but not overwhelmingly so. Pay your money, take your pick.

I'll take Inverness to win 2-1 at 10/1. I might even be daft and expand that to 60/1 with Billy McKay scoring first.

But I'm not convinced of my good sense in doing so.

As Motherwell found to their cost playing the occasion is probably more of a risk for Inverness than Rangers.

Rangers, of course, are playing history as well.

But history's not having a good week in Scottish football.

All odds from Ladbrokes #gameon

Always remembering