MAR 7-8: SCOTTISH CUP & SPFL TEAM NEWS

celticvrangers

WELL done to Falkirk who booked the first Scottish Cup semi-final spot with a scrappy 1-0 win at Queen of the South.

The match was spoiled by strong winds but the Bairns couldn’t give a jot as they surged through. I expect them to be joined by Inverness, Celtic and Hibs.

Favourites Celtic travelling to Dundee United on Sunday for the first of a triple header against the tangerines. They meet in the Cup, League Cup Final and league and are 5-2 with McBookie to win all three – United are 200-1.

Celtic are 5-4 with McBookie for a domestic treble and United 30-1 to win both cups. Ronny Deila’s men slipped up in midweek at home to St Johnstone but have been up for the big games recently and I’m on them at 1-2 with Hills to win at Tannadice where they lost 2-1 in the league just before Christmas.

United of course have since been weakened by the sales of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven – cup-tied of course – to the Hoops and have lost three of their last four matches.

Hibs are no bigger than 2-9 to beat League Two Berwick and should do so with plenty to spare. Alan Stubbs’s men are unbeaten in 12 and the wee Rangers face a massive task.

Twenty-four goals have been hit in Hibs’ last six home matches and Hills go evens on a home win and four or more match goals. Another solid bet is Hibs -2 at 7-5 with Paddy Power or play safer with Hibs -2 Asian Handicap at 4-5 with bet365 (money back if they win by two).

There are two Premiership clashes today and I’m on Scott McDonald at 13-5 with Stan James to score after an impressive second debut for Motherwell last weekend. The Aussie striker helped inspire his side to victory against Inverness and is 8-1 with the same firm to score first.

Well will hope for a second successive win but Killie are unbeaten in five and it could be a draw.

Ross County are going for four wins on the spin, including a second in three outings against Partick Thistle. They won 3-1 at Firhill and games between the sides have produced 25 goals in the last six matches.

I fancy County at 9-5 with McBookie and Hills while four or more goals in the game is 12-5 with Hills.

It will be interesting to see how Cowdenbeath bounce back from last week’s 10-0 mauling at Hearts as they welcome Rangers.
Cowdenbeath have failed to score in four of their last five matches and while another heavy defeat is unlikely I’ll back Gers at 13-8 to win to nil and -1 at 10-11 with 888sport.

Here’s some team news for the three Scottish Cup remaining ties and two Premier League games that may help you with your picks.

Inverness v Raith

Inverness could hand Tarmo Kink a debut against Raith after the Estonia winger joined the club on a short-term deal. James Vincent and Aaron Doran are also in contention following injury but Dean Brill is still out despite starting training-ground work following a knee injury. The suspended Gary Warren and long-term injury absentee Richie Foran remain on the sidelines.

Raith include Christian Nade in their travelling party after he missed out on last Saturday’s win over Livingston through suspension. Calum Elliot is absent after knee surgery and on-loan Barrie McKay returns to cup action after missing out in the last round when Rovers knocked out his parent club Rangers.
Referee: Willie Collum.

Dundee Utd v Celtic (Sun)

Adam Matthews is a doubt for Celtic. The Wales defender twisted his ankle against St Johnstone in midweek but manager Ronny Deila remains hopeful. Striker John Guidetti (ankle), midfielder Kris Commons (thigh) and left-back Emilio Izaguirre (hand) will be assessed while midfielder Charlie Mulgrew (hamstring tendon) and right-back Mikael Lustig (ankle) remain out and midfielders Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven are cup-tied.

Dundee United forward Nadir Ciftci is free to face Celtic after winning his appeal against a two-match ban following his clash with Inverness defender Gary Warren last week. Goalkeeper Michal Szromnik is back from a ban but defender Callum Morris (thigh) is doubtful.
Referee: Craig Thomson.

Hibs v Berwick (Sun)

Hibs manager Alan Stubbs will be without Martin Boyle and Keith Watson, with both loanees cup-tied after playing in the competition for Dundee and Dundee United respectively earlier in the season.

Berwick player-manager Colin Cameron is a major doubt due to a thigh injury but Steven Notman and Blair Henderson have returned to fitness and will feature. Stephen Tulloch has trained all week after a calf knock however a lack of game time after a six-week absence may see him miss out.
Referee: Bobby Madden.

Motherwell v Kilmarnock

Motherwell boss Ian Baraclough has reported no fresh injuries. Striker Bob McHugh could be in contention for a return after overcoming the groin injury that has kept him out since the end of October. Steven Hammell (groin), Iain Vigurs (sciatic nerve), Zaine Francis-Angol (groin), Paul Lawson (calf) and Jack Leitch (knee) will all miss the Scottish Premiership fixture with Killie.

Paul Cairney returns to the Kilmarnock squad. The midfielder has recovered from an ankle injury but striker Rory McKenzie is still out with a knee complaint. Defender Mark Connolly (broken collarbone), midfielder Jamie Hamill (ankle) and striker Michael Ngoo (ankle) also remain on the sidelines.
Referee: John Beaton.

Ross County v Partick Thistle

Ross County have an unchanged squad as they look for their fourth consecutive Scottish Premiership victory when Partick Thistle visit Dingwall. Ruben Palazuelos (groin), Richard Brittain (hamstring), Ben Frempah (ankle) and Darren Barr (knee) remain on the sidelines. Rocco Quinn was back in reserve-team action during the week following a hip injury.

Dan Seaborne will be missing again for Partick. The former Southampton defender sat out last week’s 2-0 win over Dundee United with an ankle knock but suspension rules him out of the Dingwall trip. Sean Welsh (ankle) is also out while boss Alan Archibald is sweating over Callum Booth, Christie Elliott and Ben Richards-Everton, who are all doubtful.
Referee: Alan Muir.

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