FEB 7: SCOTTISH CUP TIPS & TEAM NEWS

celticvrangers

IT’S William Hill Scottish Cup weekend and McBookie.com are offering 4-1 the trophy will be won by a non-Premiership team.

With four guaranteed to make the quarter-finals the firm is also going 12-1 for an all-non Premiership Final.

Celtic are 5-6 favourites to win the Cup ahead of their lunchtime showdown at Dundee and I expect them to march into the last eight.

As weeks go it’s been a Carlsberg one for the Bhoys who beat Rangers to reach the League Cup Final, strengthened their squad as the window shut by signing Dundee Utd duo Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven then kept hold of Kris Commons who signed a two-year deal.

And they can put the froth on the top of a pretty full pint by easing through at Dens Park. Celtic struggled to a 1-1 draw at Dundee earlier in the seasons but they’ve improved although Paul Hartley’s men are on a six-game unbeaten run and won’t lie down.

The Hoops are 4-11 with the likes of bet365 and Ladbrokes. Two meetings this season have saw both teams score and a repeat of that pays 1-1 at Betfred and Ladbrokes.

However, Celtic have kept a clean sheet in their last six matches and are 7-4 at William Hill to keep a clean sheet.

Commons hit a cracker at Hampden on Sunday and is 13-10 at Ladbrokes to celebrate his new deal with another strike. To score first he is 9-2 at bet365 – the same price as last week’s fellow hero and ex-Dee ace Leigh Griffiths.

Holders St Johnstone face a tricky trip to Queen of the South. Saints have won just one of their last six and face a side who crushed Cowdenbeath 5-0 last weekend.

However, Queens have lost two of their last three home games and I can see Saints edging it. They are 10-11 with William Hill but it could be better going with over 2.5 goals at 39-40 with McBookie as the last two meetings at Palmerston have totalled nine goals.

Today’s only all-Premiership tie sees Partick entertain an Inverness side who sold Billy Mckay in the window without signing a replacement. Partick have won both league clashes this season – scoring seven times – and are boosted by the return of loan signing Lyle Taylor.

I’m on them at 6-4 with Betfred and Taylor is 5-2 at boylesports to score.

Falkirk and Hibs let me down last week but I’m backing both to make the last eight against lower-league opponents. The Bairns face on-form League One side Brechin and while they are 4-9 at Hills again I’d prefer to go for goals with over 2.5 paying 13-19 at 888sport.

Three of Falkirk’s last four matches have produced at least five goals and a repeat is 11-4 at Hills.

Hibs are even shorter at 2-7 with the likes of Hills and Ladbrokes and against a side who haven’t won in four I’m on them minus one at 6-7 with 888sport.

Today’s other tie features non-league Spartans against a Berwick side who have failed to win their last two cup matches against non-league sides away from home. The Lowland League outfit, who beat Morton in the previous round, are 14-5 with Hills to make the last eight and worth a look at 19-20 at Coral not to lose.

Team News

Dundee v Celtic
Paul Heffernan and Alex Harris are both cup-tied for Dundee. Kevin Thomson is a doubt with a knock but Paul McGinn returns from a back injury. Defender Iain Davidson (ankle) and midfielder Gary Harkins (shin) remain out.
Celtic boss Ronny Deila only has Charlie Mulgrew missing through a knee injury. Deila was happy to welcome midfielder Stuart Armstrong and winger Gary Mackay-Steven to the club this week after signing the duo from Dundee United but both are cup-tied.

Falkirk v Brechin

Falkirk are without cup-tied new recruits Mark Kerr and John Baird after they played in Queen of the South’s win over Brora Rangers in the last round. Aaron Muirhead is not ready for his debut due to a knee injury with Owain Tudur-Jones absent after surgery on a knee problem.
Brechin have everyone available apart from midfielder Callum Tapping who remains out due to a knee problem.

Hibs v Arbroath

Full-back David Gray is back in the Hibs squad following groin surgery. On-loan pair Keith Watson and Martin Boyle are cup-tied and Dominique Malonga is back from African Nations Cup duty but is suspended. Former Hamilton keeper Tomas Cerny and former Aberdeen midfielder Fraser Fyvie come into contention after signing for the club.
Arbroath add Dylan Carreiro to their squad after the Canadian midfielder returned for a second loan spell from Dundee, however on-loan Falkirk duo Ryan McGeever and Thomas Grant miss out as they are cup-tied. Liam Rowan is free to play, but Kevin Nicoll (groin), Scott McBride (foot) and Craig Johnstone (ankle) are all out.

Partick v Inverness

Lyle Taylor could return to the Partick side after he rejoined Thistle on loan on Monday after Nathan Eccleston departed. Sean Welsh (ankle) is still on the sidelines and Jordan McMillan remains suspended.
Inverness will assess Dean Brill’s knee injury. Ryan Esson deputised for the Caley Thistle keeper against Ross County last weekend after Brill failed to shake off a knee injury. Club captain Richie Foran remains on the sidelines with his long-term knee problem.

Queen of the South v St Johnstone

Queens keeper Zander Clark, who is on loan from St Johnstone, will miss out with Jim Atkinson taking over. Ian McShane is expected to shrug off a knock to play and Paul Burns and Stephen McKenna are included after lengthy injury absences. However, new recruit Mark Millar is cup-tied.
Danny Swanson could make his St Johnstone debut after the Coventry midfielder joined on loan on Monday after Gary McDonald left the club. Lee Croft is suspended and fellow midfielder Chris Millar is unlikely to make it as he builds up his fitness following a groin injury.

Spartans v Berwick

Skipper Kevin Sivewright misses out for Spartans with a knee injury. Also missing for the Edinburgh side are the injured Jon Grant (ankle), Michael Herd (knee) and the suspended Keith McLeod with Mickey Bruce only fit enough for a place on the bench. Recent signings Eddie Malone and Paul-Jon Sludden are included.
Berwick skipper Stephen Tulloch misses out due to a calf injury however Jonny Fairbairn is included as his ban for getting dismissed against Elgin last weekend will be served in the league. Ben Miller has been recalled from his loan spell at Arniston Rangers as the Borderers look to secure their first quarter-final berth since 1980.

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