Motherwell vs HeartsScottish League Cup, KO: 19:45 Aug 16, 2019, Fir Park
Both of these sides collided at the quarter-final stage last season with Hearts prevailing on that occasion and a repeat of that outcome here is on offer at 6/4 (Bet 365)
A missed penalty kick from Brian Graham got the Jambos out of jail last weekend as Hearts scraped to a goalless draw at home to newly-promoted Ross County.
It was a result which heaped more pressure on Hearts manager Craig Levein and the home crowd vented their fury at the Tyncastle boss at the conclusion of last Saturdays stalemate with the Staggies.
Their latest setback on league duty means that the capital club have failed to win a Scottish Premiership fixture since the 30th of March – one of only four top-flight victories this calendar year – and the Gorgie faithful are increasingly losing patience with their leader due to a combination of ropey results and turgid tactics.
What's more the Jam Tarts only managed to win two of their four Betfred Cup group stage matches after failing to beat League 1 part-timers East Fife and Scottish Championship title-favourites Dundee United.
Motherwell on the other hand blitzed their Betfred Cup group by winning all four fixtures, firing in 13 goals and registering four clean-sheets.
However, Stephen Robinson's side have only picked up one point from their opening two league matches.
Following a lacklustre 0-0 draw away to Livingston on the opening day of the season Motherwell were mauled 5-2 by treble Treble winners Celtic.
I wrote a preview on last weekends thriller at Fir Park and in doing so successfully tipped three winners, one of which I'm going to revisit for in this cup clash, namely, Declan Gallagher to be carded.
Gallagher is a fiery character and picked up 17 bookings in his final two seasons with Livingston before making the switch to North Lanarkshire.
After picking up his first booking for Motherwell last weekend Gallagher looks overpriced at 7/2 (William Hill) to be carded in what I expect to be a hard-hitting cup tie against a physical Hearts side.
Switching gears to another Motherwell man who could be worth focusing on is the clubs leading marksman Liam Donnelly.
The Well defender turned midfielder has made a blistering start to the season after hitting six goals in five starts and such form has seen Stephen Robinson tip his top goalscorer to land a Northern Ireland recall.
Donnelly bagged a double against the Scottish champions last time out and he successfully converted a penalty in the last round of this competition so all things considered the 17/4 (McBookie) on offer for the Northern Irishman to net anytime on Friday night looks generous.
Whether or not Donnely grabs another goal remains to be seen but don't expect another goal fest at Fir Park on account of Craig Levien's notoriously negative tactics.
Hearts possess one of the most potent pool of players in Scotland outside of the Old Firm, yet they appear to be heading in the wrong direction under Levein's stewardship – so much so the Jambos boss is in desperate need of a result on Friday night.
Although I'm expecting a tight encounter, i'm not convinced the under fire Hearts boss will get past a Motherwell side who have only been beaten twice at home since January.
A late night in Lanarkshire could be on the cards but I'm leaning towards the home side landing a place in the last eight and the 19/20 (William Hill) on offer for Motherwell to qualify could be a shrewd angle to consider.
This Scottish League Cup match between Motherwell and Hearts will be played on Aug 16, 2019 and kick off at 19:45