Without the geographical split of last weekend’s competition it is the first opportunity we have of seeing everyone in the SFL mix up against each other apart from Dunfermline. There are plenty of opportunities for some shocks though it is always a chance for the smaller clubs to catch the eye or even hope the TV cameras will catch up with them if they progress. For East Fife the draw with Rangers will be their early Christmas present though the Ibrox tie reduces the chances of progression. It is a very even-handed round and therefore very hard to pick the tie of the round but if I was asked where I would like to go and pay my entrance money I think it would be at Palmerston.
Queen of the South v Alloa Athletic
It’s the battle of the brothers as Derek Young (Queens) faces Darren Young (Alloa) in a game that sees Derek Lyle also in the Doonhamers squad. There are injury issues aplenty for Paul Hartley’s side in this all second division clash. I’ll go for a home win.
Stranraer v Livingston
The third division side welcome first division opposition and having lost to second division opposition last weekend Stranraer may be hoping for better luck. Only David MacGregor is out for the home side whilst Keoghan Jacobs will be missing for the visitors. John Hughes will want to avoid losing to another third division side this weekend and in their second visit to the south in two weeks I reckon they should win through.
Raith Rovers v Berwick Rangers
The home side will hope to build on last weekend’s win whilst the Borderers will be looking to put last weekend’s disappointment behind them. Rovers are at full strength whilst a number of new faces will be in contention for Berwick. Home win for me.
Stenhousemuir v Brechin City
Without the TV cameras Jim Weir’s side will be looking for a win whilst Scott Buist and Eric Paton look to miss out for the home side. Brechin’s squad are depleted by injury so the omens do not look good and I reckon another home advantage may take the tie.
Montrose v Cowdenbeath
New Montrose boss Stuart Garden has still not put the finishing touches to his squad for the third division campaign and Cowdenbeath’s Colin Cameron could capitalise on that. Having won against Alloa last weekend he may have to put himself on the park as there are significant injury concerns in his squad; having said that the Blue Brazil should have enough to make it through.
Ayr United v Clyde
New faces will come into the Somerset Park dressing room as Mark Roberts looks for a reaction to their dismal dismissal last weekend. Duffy’s side also tasted defeat last weekend and with injury concerns this may be a cup Duffy could do without as he starts to make changes for the third division campaign ahead. Another home win for me.
Dumbarton v Albion Rovers
This was a great fixture last season in the second and though there have been personnel changes for each side – as well as now a division between them – this should be an entertaining game. The injury woes at the Rock means that the visitors may pull off a wee shock.
Forfar Athletic v Partick Thistle
Forfar, having beaten Dunfermline last weekend, will be full of confidence whilst Jackie McNamara’s side is struggling with personnel. Both progressed last weekend though the Jags may struggle this weekend to emulate last weekend’s success. I reckon a Forfar win but it may go beyond regulation time.
Falkirk v Elgin City
Elgin are really struggling with the squad whilst their hosts are close to full strength. If things had been different we could have banked on the wrong Falkirk turning up – last season they played Jekyll and Hyde regularly – and hoped for a decent Elgin performance. With such doubts over the Elgin squad I think the first division side should go through.
Hamilton Academical v Annan Athletic
This should be a scoosh on paper – but that may have been what the Lions thought last weekend and they got caught out with this wee mouse! This should be highly competitive as both are naming similar squads to last weekend. Though Hamilton lost they played very well in spells and consistency in selection can spell more consistency on the park. This could be the shock of the afternoon and Harry Cairney could mange it twice in two weeks…
Arbroath v Stirling Albion
It would be fantastic for Paul Sheerin’s side if they could manage the same goals total – 7 – as last weekend but that is unlikely. His team’s record in cup competitions has not been good though that may be turning. He has added former AFC Wimbledon’s David Banjo to his team and he will be hoping for headlines from him in the morning. Stirling have injury issues that should help that along…
Queens Park v Airdrie United
Both teams won last weekend and that makes things interesting, however Airdrie are in the middle of an injury crisis. It should give Queens Park the advantage. Playing, as they are, at Firhill as Hampden is being used for some event based in London may not be enough to knock the home side and I would expect the Spiders to squeeze through.
Sunday 5th August
East Stirling v Greenock Morton
Another tie involving two sides that won last weekend. Allan Moore’s Morton seem to have resolved some of last season’s issues whilst the passing game employed by East Stirling should make this entertaining rather than a contest. Played on Sunday due to Stenhousemuir being at home, I will go for an away win.
Tuesday 7th August
Rangers v East Fife
As Celtic are at home at the beginning of the SPL season this weekend there is another time shift for the SFL clubs to get used to. Rangers will make their debut at home as the new club and should navigate the Fifers with ease. Having said that, famous, last and words spring to mind