It is weekday fixtures that are coming thick and fast as the Cups try to dash towards their finals and tonight it is the turn of the Scottish Communities League Cup. We have some Premiership interest in the mix this round though the “big boys” will find their names in the draw this Wednesday. It always seems odd to me that, with Europe starting earlier and earlier that the League Cup, in particular doesn’t do that too, just to give our teams some competitive fixtures before they meet their fate in Europe? Anyway here are what we do have for you tonight:-
Match of the Round
Dundee v Raith Rovers
There are quite a few games this round that a few years ago would have been crackers but now that one of the teams involved has now slipped down the tables it doesn’t look so big. I have picked this because Raith, having been sent out the Petrofac Training Cup they were defending are likely to be tricky customers. Dundee are finding their feet in the Premiership and I believe will stay there quite comfortably. If they can continue to repeat their weekend league win against St Mirren on a regular basis then this is likely to happen. The Kirkcaldy side were thumped by a stung Hearts team at the weekend but they have been putting points on the table and I expect their abilities in the Cup to come through. I fully expect this to be dramatic and likely to go beyond 90 minutes. I don’t think I know who shall win it but I hope it will tell a big story tomorrow.
I have picked three games that I reckon could be shocking. Firstly Greenock Morton v Partick Thistle. Despite losing to Hamilton Academical on Saturday Partick have been playing fairly well. They should be a stiff test for anyone. Greenock Morton have started fairly well in the league whilst their cup games have probably been where they have been at their most effective. It is for this reason I reckon they shall manage to push the Jags all the way and may just nick it. St Mirren v Dunfermline Athletic has a Premiership team that may struggle in the cup as they are in the league. The Pars have not got out of the blocks as well as hoped though their 3-0 win against Airdrie suggests they are finding a rhythm – it might just be at the right time for a cup run. Finally Stranraer v Ross County has two teams that had tough ties at the weekend. For Stranraer they had to battle back for a draw with Brechin City whilst the Staggies were well beaten by Dundee United. I think County should get through this tie but something about Stranraer tells me it is unlikely to be straight forward.
Difficult to call
Falkirk v Cowdenbeath features two teams that had mixed fortunes at the weekend. Though the Bairns beat Hibs they have had a tough start to the season. The Blue Brazil need a boost after losing at the weekend and I think this will make them tricky which should make this quite an even contest. Livingston v Queen of the South becomes difficult to call by way of their dress rehearsal on Saturday that saw a 1-1 draw at Palmerston. With no indication of who is likely to win from that these two form teams go into this very open tie.
Should go by league positions…
Stenhousemuir v Heart of Midlothian has a home side that lost a mammoth tie 5-4 against Stirling Albion at the weekend up against a team that put 4 past Raith Rovers. With both attacks free scoring it is Hearts’ defence that may win it for the visitors. Queen’s Park v Rangers is different than all the rest as it is a postponed first round tie which has the home side making decent progress under Gus McPherson but that should not include putting Rangers out the League Cup. Rangers warmed up with a 4-1 win against Dumbarton and it ought to be a decent victory for them here. Hamilton Academical v Alloa Athletic has the newly promoted home side from the Premiership taking on a team that was in the same league last year. There is now a bit of a distance between them and whilst both won at the weekend I reckon Alex Neil’s side should get through. Hibernian v Dumbarton has two Championship teams that lost on Saturday. For me Hibs will pick themselves up more easily after losing by 1 goal to Falkirk than Dumbarton who shipped four goals to Rangers. Finally, Kilmarnock v Ayr United is THE game of the night for me. I would like to believe that Ayr could win this but I will put up with losing to a team that beat Motherwell at the weekend.