The Spartans vs Dundee UnitedScottish League Cup, KO: 15:00 Jul 15, 2023, Ainslie Park
THE SPARTANS are gearing up for their first season in the SPFL and will kick off League Two on a massive high if they can claim the scalp of fallen giants Dundee United in the League Cup group stage.
Last term couldn't have gone much better for the Edinburgh club as they followed up their Lowland League title triumph by beating Brechin and Albion Rovers in the pyramid play-offs to secure a slot in the SPFL.
Spartans will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Cove and Kelty, who are both now in League One after coming up through the pyramid, and their League Cup matches will certainly prepare them for the challenge ahead.
With Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Peterhead also in Group B, it would be a feather in Spartans' cap if they avoided finishing bottom of the pile but momentum from last season could see them pick up a few points against the odds.
While last term was a dream for Dougie Samuel's men, it quickly turned into a disaster for Dundee United. Jack Ross inherited a side that qualified for Europe but soon found himself axed after a 7-1 aggregate battering by AZ Alkmaar was followed by a 9-0 loss at home to Celtic.
Successor Liam Fox was also binned as United dropped to the bottom of the Premiership table and Jim Goodwin couldn't save their skins after taking the reins, with defeat at Motherwell on the final day bringing up both my recommended bets.
Despite taking them down, the Tannadice board decided to extend Goodwin's contract in the hope he can take them straight back to the top flight. The bookies have made them favourites to win the Championship and Goodwin will now be looking to build momentum with some wins in the League Cup groups.
How the bookies view it
Head to head
These sides have never faced off in a competitive match but Dundee United will be hoping for a repeat of their last League Cup group campaign, which saw them win all four games and concede just one goal.
Players to watch
Danny Denholm looks like a shrewd signings for Spartans as the winger has heaps of SPFL experience. The 32-year-old has an eye for goal and could punish United if they give him space but I can't find any scorer prices as the bookies continue to treat the League Cup group stage with contempt.
Departures were inevitable at Tannadice after dropping down a division, with Steven Fletcher and Dylan Levitt both leaving the club. Goodwin has yet to sign a replacement for former Scotland striker Fletcher and youngster Kai Fotheringham has been getting a chance to impress. He will cause Spartans a few problems and will be out to show Goodwin he deserves a regular starting slot.
Anything else catch the eye?
With Dundee United still lacking quality up front, I'd be surprised if we saw a lot of goals in this one. Paddy Power price under 2.5 goals at 31/20 which might be worth a punt while betting against BTTS pays 4/5 at BetVictor.
With both sides playing their first competitive game of the new campaign, it might take a while for things to warm up. So I fancy most goals to come after the break, a bet that pays 11/10 with William Hill.
This Scottish League Cup match between The Spartans and Dundee United will be played on Jul 15, 2023 and kick off at 15:00. Check below for our tipsters best The Spartans vs Dundee United prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.