INVERNESS and Arsenal are rated as having about the same chance of winning their finals today in 90 minutes but I’m more confident about the outcome at Hampden than I am at Wembley.
In their first final Inverness face a lower-league Falkirk side who didn’t make the Championship play-offs and avoided a top-flight side on their way to today’s showdown.
It’s easy to forget Inverness are Scotland’s third best now behind Celtic and Aberdeen and have already clinched a Europa League debut – and if they win they’ll earn St Johnstone a passport to the same tournament.
ICT are a strong and well-organised side who defeated Celtic in the semi-finals and I like their chances of winning in 90 minutes.
Inverness, Barcelona and Paris St Germain are three teams I fancy in today’s finals in Scotland, Spain and France and the treble pays 6-4 at boylesports. Add Arsenal and that takes you to 5-2 with Ladbrokes and Betfred.
I like the Gunners but a better price the better bet is both teams to score at 1-1 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
Inverness are a best 8-13 at Betfred and Coral to beat Falkirk in 90 minutes. To win the Cup they are 2-7 with bet365.
It’s extremely short but John Hughes’s men deserve the tag “hot favourites” after a super season. Falkirk have some quality players though and will give it their best shot.
The Bairns’ chances are reflected by the prices and they are biggest 11-2 at McBookie to win in 90 minutes and 14-5 at Betway to lift the Cup.
ICT finished the season with a 5-0 defeat at Celtic but rested players so I wouldn’t read to much into it. They should be sharper – if not fresher – than their opponents who haven’t played since May 2.
Hughes has done well to keep his side on track after losing top scorer Billy Mckay in January and in recent weeks Edward Ofere has stepped up to the plate.
He’s netted five goals in seven games and is my pick to score first at 9-2 at bet365.
It was young Craig Sibbald who fired Falkirk to semi-final victory and he is 13-2 at bet365 to net again at Hampden. Sibbald has scored in three of the four rounds in the tournament.
Josh Meekings plays in defence for ICT after appealing against an attempt by the SFA to ban him for a handball offence in the semi-final. He is 33-1 with McBookie to be sent off today and 25-1 to give away a penalty.
The last four finals have seen the winner score in both halves and Inverness are 6-4 with William Hill to do so with Bairns 4-1.
Hills have man of the match prices and Greg Tansey is 8-1 favourite but I’ll be on Ofere at 9-1. Marley Watkins is 10-1 with Bairns striker Rory Loy while Sibbald is 12-1.
Willie Collum is the ref and we know all about his penchant for awarding red cards. There is a possibility of one today and that pays 10-3 with McBookie and William Hill. A Falkirk red is 6-1 at Paddy Power.
(8-13, Coral, Betfred)
Inverness -1 AH
(1-1, Paddy Power)
Ofere to score first
|Paddy Power||2 Up - You win! Paddy Power will pay you as a winner straight away if your team goes 2 goals up at any stage in the game. Ends Jan 9th.||CLAIM OFFER|
|Racebets||Use code WELCOME for up to £50 matched bonus when you join Racebets.||CLAIM OFFER|
|Marathonbet||Get a £20 matched bonus when you open a new account at Marathonbet. Use code TV20||CLAIM OFFER|
|Coral||Opt in to Coral's Bet & Get Club and receive a free £5 bet each week.||CLAIM OFFER|
|BetVictor||Bet £10 Get £60 when you open a new account at BetVictor.||CLAIM OFFER|