Livingston vs RangersScottish League Cup, KO: 19:45 Sep 25, 2019, The Tony Macaroni Arena
THE Betfred Cup gets back underway this midweek and the TV cameras will be at the Tony Macaroni Stadium to see Livingston lock horns with Rangers.
Both teams recently squared off against each other in the Scottish Premiership, with Rangers running out 3-1 winners at Ibrox two Saturday's ago.
Despite putting in a brave performance, the Lions fell to their first defeat of the season when Rangers scored twice in the final 19 minutes to seal all three points.
A first home loss of the season soon followed when Aberdeen won 2-0 in West Lothian last weekend – a result that was cruel on a Livingston side who had the best of the game and passed up a number of guilt-edged chances.
Despite being turned over by the Dons, Livi boss Gary Holt described his teams performance as “excellent” however, a herculean effort will required from Livi if they are to eliminate Rangers from the Betfred Cup.
Holt's men will take confidence from their recent display in Govan given the fact they scored the opening goal of the game and could have re-taken the lead were not for the frame of the goal and a fine save form Gers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Yet, the bookmakers don't hold out much hope for Holt and Co with a home win huge odds-against at 8/1 (Bet 365) and Livi are also an unfancied 7/2 (Bet 365) to draw and force extra-time and set up a potential penalty shoot-out.
Rangers go into this tussle at the Tony Macaroni as odds-on favourites at 4/11 (Bet 365) and will be looking to pick up from where they left off in Perth on Sunday after thumping St Johnstone 4-0.
The Ibrox side have responded superbly to their Old Firm setback by beating Feyenoord either side of the aforementioned victories against Livingston and St Johnstone.
With a showdown against Aberdeen to come on Saturday, before a trip to Bern next midweek, Gers boss Gerrard is expected to rotate his squad on Wednesday night.
Wholesale changes are unlikely with a Hampden semi-final up for grabs , however, veteran striker Jermain Defoe could feature from the start after coming off the bench to bag a brace against the Saints on Sunday.
Should Defoe get the nod he can be backed at 3/1 (Bet 365) to score the opener, however, it may be more shrewd to opt for the Englishman to score anytime at 19/20 (UniBet) given that midfielders and defenders have been getting amongst the goals for the Gers this season.
For reasons already touched upon, don't rule out a Livingston goal here either – which in itself appeals at 4/5 (William Hill) – and in doing so would increase the likelihood of both teams scoring at 21/20 (Bet 365) – although, I would be more tempted to have a flutter on the former.
Rangers may have registered back-to-back clean-sheets, but they were fortunate to do so on both occasions thanks to stalwart Allan McGregor – who could be given the night off.
Whether or not Holt's troops find their shooting boots remains to be seen, however, Livingston, on their plastic pitch, will have their moments and will no doubt make life difficult for Rangers.
However, the Betfred Cup presents Gerrard with a real chance to deliver some much needed silverware and Rangers superiority should see them rubber-stamp a semi-final ticket on Wednesday night.
Indeed, the odds available for an away win are not enticing , which is understandable for a Rangers side who have only tasted defeat once in their last 23 outings.
Don't expect a League Cup classic to be served up between these two on a night where Livi will be compact and set up to frustrate a Rangers side who could start to feel the effects of their congested calendar.
Sourcing value form this quarter-final tie will prove to be tricky for punters, however, one angle to consider that sides with Steven Gerrard's men is the 7/10 (Betway) on offer for Rangers to win and under 4.5 goals – a combination that would have banked profit in each of the last three meetings between the Lions and the Bears.
This Scottish League Cup match between Livingston and Rangers will be played on Sep 25, 2019 and kick off at 19:45