Ross County vs Dundee UnitedScottish Championship, KO: 19:05 Apr 5, 2019, Victoria Park
JUST a few weeks ago, it looked like this clash in Dingwall would be a Championship coronation for Ross County.
After beating Falkirk 2-1 on March 12, the Staggies moved 11 points clear at the top and it only seemed like a matter of time before they were confirmed as champions.
But they lost their next game at Tannadice, allowing Dundee United to cut the gap to eight, and with County on Irn-Bru Cup duty, Robbie Neilson's men then cut the gap to just two points by winning their next two league games.
United could then have moved top at the weekend, with County crashing to a shock 1-0 defeat at bottom of the table Alloa.
But the Tangerines slumped to an equally surprising loss at home to struggling Queen of the South, keeping the Staggies at the top and with the luxury of two games in hand.
They played the first of those in midweek, winning 2-1 at Inverness in a Highland derby both clubs didn't want played after trying and failing to schedule the game for later in April.
That stretched their lead to five points and County will be desperate to pretty much put the title race out of sight by beating their rivals. The Dingwall side are a best 61/50 with Marathonbet but fatigue could be a factor after that bruising derby encounter so I'll be backing the draw at 62/25 with the same firm.
United will still be kicking themselves at missing a huge opportunity at the weekend and this is a now a must-win game if they're to have any chance to finishing the season on top.
County won the first two clashes between these sides this season, winning 1-0 at home then crushing United 5-1 at Tannadice, but that was when Csaba Laszlo was in charge of the Tangerines.
Neilson has made them a much tighter unit and after a huge overhaul of the squad in January it's a different team with a fresh attitude.
Only three players who started that 5-1 defeat to County made the starting line-up last weekend – Jamie Robson, Paul McMullan and Pavel Safranko – so that shows the scale of the Neilson revolution.
Striker Nicky Clark has played a key role in the revival under United's new boss, netting seven times in his last 10 games.
He's a generous 7/1 with Bet 365 to open the scoring in this one and 9/4 with most firms for anytime scorer.
County's faltering form is partly down to the loss of prolific hitman Billy Mckay, who scored a hat-trick against old club United in that 5-1 win.
Josh Mullin and Brian Graham have been trying to fill the void and striker Graham should be their biggest threat in this one. He's good value at 12/5 with Paddy Power in the anytime scorer market.
This Scottish Championship match between Ross County and Dundee United will be played on Apr 5, 2019 and kick off at 19:05