With all eyes and attention on the rebuilding of the national team with new faces and faded hopes of European qualification the semi-finals of the Ramsdens Cup could be missed. Tucked away on Sunday both games are genuine contests that are these clubs opportunity to reach a national final. For them they are very important.
Hamilton Academicals v Livingston
The all First Division clash has the relegated SPL side up against last year’s Second Division Champions. Both Billy Reid and Gary Bollan will be keen to show their progress. Hamilton will welcome back into the squad Willie McLaren and Lee Kilday whilst Kyle Wilkie and Alex Neil remain out. Jordan Kilpatrick will have a fitness test to assess his readiness.
Livingston won’t have Cameron MacDonald and Keaghan Jacobs whilst a fitness test will decide David Sinclair’s inclusion.
Their league meeting this year was a draw and both will hope to finish the tie in 90 minutes. What is good about the tie is that they have competitive football during the international weekend as other teams attempt to find friendlies and reserve matches to keep their squad fresh.
Both teams are separated by a single point in the league and this is hard to call but either side progressing is possible. It should be an open and exciting tie at New Douglas Park.
Annan Athletic v Falkirk
This has all the romance of the Cup attached as there is a young Falkirk side attempting to build a side based on youth against a very new SFL side who sit atop the Third Division and are genuine promotion contenders this year.
Annan beat Ayr United in the last round and will have no fear. They welcome Kevin Neilson into the squad whilst Aaron Muirhead won’t make it. Steven Kingsley and Ally Graham are out for Falkirk.
Falkirk have won this cup no fewer than 3 times already and, sitting 4th in their league you would have to say they are favourites. You would also have to say that the romance of the cup is a huge pull and you really want an upset down in the Borders.