Falkirk vs HeartsScottish Cup, KO: 19:21 Feb 8, 2020, The Falkirk Stadium
THE fifth round of Scottish Cup takes centre stage in Scotland this weekend and one of the ties of the round will see Hearts travel to Falkirk on Saturday night.
However, the Jambos suffered a relegation reality-check in midweek when crashing to a 3-2 defeat at home to Kilmarnock – a result which saw the Tynecastle club slide back to the bottom of the Scottish Premiership table.
Hearts horror show on Wednesday night will have the Gorgie faithful questioning whether or not their recent triumph over title-chasing Rangers was nothing more than a false dawn, but either way, a trip to the Falkirk Stadium looks like a potential banana skin for Stendel and Co – a fixture that Falkirk fans will always have fond memories of (see below)
The Falkirk faithful have had little to cheer about in recent times after going through the agony of watching their side get relegated to the third-tier of Scottish football on the final day of last season.
The Bairns were widely expected to bounce back to the Scottish Championship with ease, however, following a poor start to the season, Ray McKinnion was relieved of his duties by the Falkirk hierarchy back in November.
Falkirk fan favourites David McCracken and Lee Miller have since been appointed as joint head-coaches until the end of the season and the two ex-players have yet to taste defeat in the 13 games that they have taken charge of.
The Betting Odds
Falkirk have triumphed in their last two Scottish Cup ties against Hearts and a repeat on Saturday night is a towering 9/2 with Bet 365, while a share of the spoils pays 3/1 with the same firm.
Hearts are huge odds-on favourites at 4/7 with Bet 365 as the men in maroon look to continue their march towards appearing in back-to-back Scottish Cup finals.
The Betting Angles
Despite falling into League One Falkirk have remained a full-time club and their playing squad is littered with seasoned pros – a number of faces that will be familiar to fans of the Scottish game.
Consequently, Falkirk have a glaring lack of flair and pace in their pool, and with that in mind, I like the look of the 4/5 (McBookie) on offer for Falkirk to collect over 1.5 cards in this cup tie.
Given that Hearts are trying to implement a high-tempo pressing-game, coupled with Falikrk's ageing squad, two or more Falkirk bookings looks feasible on Saturday night at a nicely priced 4/5 (McBookie)
Centre-half Durnan has been cautioned in seven of his 19 starts this term, while veteran midfielder Gomis has racked up five yellows and two reds across his 18 appearances this season.
In considering who will come out on top in this cup clash, Hearts look slightly short to me at 4/7 (Bet 365) and therefore I will be steering clear of the outright betting markets on Saturday night.
Indeed, Stendel possesses superior quality, however, Hearts have shipped six goals in their last two outings and they will be coming up against a streetwise side led by one of the deadliest strikers in League 1 in the shape of Declan McManus.
What's more, the Jambos are conceding almost two goals per game away from Tynecastle, but even if the Bairns do make the net bulge, the hosts will be hard tasked when trying to shutout the likes of Liam Boyce and Steven Naismith.
This Scottish Cup match between Falkirk and Hearts will be played on Feb 8, 2020 and kick off at 19:21