With the league programme swept to one side for the next round of the cup we have some fascinating ties expected over the weekend as the Premiership sides enter the fray.
Match of the Day
Dundee v Aberdeen
Paul Hartley and Derek McInnes have enough of their own medals hanging in the wardrobe and shall have no end of stories to try to motivate their players in what ought to be a very decent tie in the early kick off today. Dundee will certainly fancy their chances as they host their north-east colleagues but the Dons have got their sights on continuing their progress under McInnes by taking up more glory in the cups. For Dundee they have doubts over Greg Stewart whilst Aberdeen will have no Willo Flood though Barry Robson is back. I think that we shall see a cagey game that could go the way of the home side if their visitors get careless. It is therefore tough to call and I would not be surprised if I was proven wrong… again…
Tricky ties – Santa’s Sack of Surprises
Queen of the South v Brora Rangers looked a simple win for the Championship side until you find out that Brora have literally been scoring for fun recently. It suggests a very capable side that know where the opposition goal is. I reckon the Doonhamers may just scrape through after a scare.
Tough to call – Crackers that may pull apart opinion
Alloa Athletic v Hibernian could end up going either way as Barry Smith’s side face a Hibs that have found their form. I reckon though the away side should shade it. Falkirk v Cowdenbeath is another all Championship tie that will probably be closer than league positions suggest. To that end the Blue Brazil might just be cheering at the end of the day and give themselves some respite from league duties. Spartans FC v Greenock Morton would have qualified as a banana skin but Spartans have not had the same form as Brora of late. Morton have been on good form but, even under Jim Duffy are liable for off days. I reckon this will be the away side on a landslide or struggling. St Johnstone v Ross County has the Perth side facing the team from Dingwall finding some form under Jim McIntyre. It’s a cup tie and had it been a league fixture I would have gone for the home team but in the cup anything can happen and it makes it tighter. Stranraer v Dunfermline Athletic pitch two of League One’s promotion sides against each other. In the league it is hard to separate these two and the cup simply makes it harder to choose but I reckon Stephen Aitken’s team might just manage it.
Simple Simons – looking better with the packaging…
The games here are wrapped in the cup but ought to be going the way of the team in the higher leagues. Bo’ness United v Arbroath could have been a tough tie for the Red Lichties but their 4-0 win against Clyde last weekend has shown they are right back on form. Annan Athletic v Brechin City has Jim Chapman welcoming a side that tends to draw rather than win games this season but they do tend to score and that should see them through. Berwick Rangers v Albion Rovers may well be an all League Two tie but the Wee Rovers have a habit of going on cup runs and I see no reason why, following their win against Queen’s Park last weekend that they shouldn’t continue that good form. Motherwell v Dundee United has Kenny Black once again in charge whilst the Well look for a new boss. I just fancy Jackie McNamara’s side will win. St Mirren v Inverness Caledonian Thistle will, in my opinion, just heap more pressure on a highly pressured Tommy Craig. Finally Stirling Albion v Raith Rovers should hold little fear for Grant Murray and new boy Stuart McLaren may just take it as another exercise in sizing up the job he has ahead of him as the new Binos’ boss.
League Two weekend preview
Already out the cup, four teams in League Two, are in action with the pick probably Clyde v Queen’s Park. As they both lost last week it is possibly unfair to see it as such but their respective league positions make it so. Barry Ferguson is finding life tough whilst Gus McPherson has worn the hair shirt on that score. I reckon it will go the way of the Spiders. It may be unfair in picking out the Bully Wee home game as the tie of the day as East Stirlingshire v East Fife has two winners from last weekend! This is truly too tough to call – so I won’t!