Inverness CT vs Dundee UnitedScottish Championship, KO: 19:45 May 14, 2019, Caledonian Stadium
AFTER three years in the Championship, Dundee United are desperate to return to the top flight, especially with rivals Dundee heading in the opposite direction.
It was the Dark Blues who condemned United to the drop in 2016 with a 2-1 derby win at Dens and they have been lording it over their near neighbours ever since.
But with Dundee finishing bottom of the Premiership, Robbie Neilson's men now have the chance to reclaim the bragging rights by replacing them in the top flight.
It won't be easy as the Tannadice side need to see off Inverness then the team finishing second bottom of the Premiership – St Mirren or Hamilton – if they are to return to the big time.
And a poor performance in the Highlands for the first leg of their semi-final could kill off their play-off dream almost immediately.
Caley Thistle have been in fine form, losing just four times since late February, and have plenty of momentum behind them.
Champions Ross County and top-flight Hearts inflicted two of those losses but the other two came against United in the league.
It was 2-0 to the Tangerines when they last came to the Highlands while they beat Inverness 1-0 in the last league game between at Tannadice.
However, John Robertson's men did win a Scottish Cup tie on Tayside in between those two losses, so this is a tight one to call, especially as the first two meetings this season ended in 1-1 draws.
That was also Caley Thistle's result at the weekend in their quarter-final second leg against Ayr and it was enough to get them over the line after a 3-1 win at Somerset Park.
Stalemates have been a speciality for the Highlanders this season, with 18 of their games ending in ties. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case again here and it's a best 5/2 with several firms. To stretch the odds try another 1-1 draw, which is 13/2 with Sportingbet.
United boss Neilson has a fully-fit squad to choose from while Robertson is sweating on the fitness of winger Tom Walsh and defender Brad McKay.
Aaron Doran hit a late winner when Inverness won in the Cup at Tannadice and the Irishman is the creative spark for Robertson's side. He looks good value at 14/5 with McBookie for anytime scorer.
Paul McMullan came up trumps for me as anytime scorer when United beat Ayr last month and also netted in the 2-0 win on their last trip to Inverness. The winger looks overpriced here at 15/4 for anytime scorer so I'll have another nibble.
First legs in play-off games can often be tight so it may also pay to back under 2.5 strikes at 113/100 with Marathonbet.
This Scottish Championship match between Inverness CT and Dundee United will be played on May 14, 2019 and kick off at 19:45