IT’S a long weekend for the Scottish Cup and some of the quarter-finals could go easily drag on into extra time and penalties.
We have to wait until tonight for the action to get underway as Hearts host St Mirren.
The Jambos have won all three meetings so far this season and McBookie make them 4/11 hot favourites to take their place in the draw for the semi-finals.
Even the win inside 90 minutes is just 3/4 but those prices look too short with Robbie Neilson having so many players injured.
St Mirren could be worth a punt at 21/10 to qualify (McBookie) as they competed well with 10 men against the Jambos when losing 2-0 on Stephen Robinson’s debut in the dugout.
But I’m steering clear of backing a winner and betting against goalmouth action instead. After three successive defeats, Robinson got off the mark with a 1-0 win at Dens in midweek.
He has concentrated on making the Buddies hard to beat and all four of his games in charge have seen 0-0 scorelines at half-time.
That makes the stalemate after 45 minutes the best option here and it pays 23/20 at Unibet.
If anyone’s going to break the deadlock it could be Hearts striker Ellis Simms who has impressed since joining on loan from Premier League strugglers Everton. The powerful striker scored against St Mirren in Paisley and is 11/8 with McBookie for another here.
The ref had a busy day in that last meeting, flashing five yellows and a red, so it could pay to dabble in the card markets.
Bet365 are offering 11/10 on the Buddies picking up over 2.5 cards and that looks good value.
Tomorrow’s clash between Motherwell and Hibernian at Fir Park also promises to be tight.
The Steelmen remain without a league win in 2022, having gone 10 Premiership matches without savouring a victory.
But they have sparked back to life in the Cup, with successive 2-1 home victories lining up this quarter-final with the Hibees.
Inconsistency has dogged Graham Alexander’s side all season and that was summed up when they followed a battling 2-2 draw at Ibrox by losing to Ross County and drawing with rock bottom Dundee.
But if they return to top form tomorrow they will fancy their chances of seeing off a Hibs side lacking punch up front.
Selling Martin Boyle robbed the Easter Road men of their biggest threat and they have now lost their most natural finisher with Kevin Nisbet out of the season.
So it’s probably no great surprise their last three games have ended in 0-0 stalemates.
But it’s now five games without defeat for Shaun Maloney’s men, conceding just one goal in the process, and that hints at a cagey cup tie in Lanarkshire.
All three meetings this season have seen five cards or more with a red dished out to Well’s Liam Donnelly last time out. That makes over 4.5 match cards a good option at evens with McBookie.
Rangers put their patchy domestic form behind them once more in midweek with another rousing Europa League win over Red Star Belgrade at Ibrox.
But they dropped points in the Premiership after both legs of their Euro triumph over Dortmund and that suggests it might not be a Cup stroll at Dundee tomorrow.
Mark McGhee is still waiting for his first win since taking charge at Dens but the Dark Blues have only conceded two goals in their last three games.
The last quarter-final doesn’t take place until Monday night as Dundee United host Celtic.
Tom Rogic dazzled on his last trip to Tannadice and I fancy the Hoops playmaker for an assist at 2/1 with McBookie.
- Over 2.5 St Mirren cards (11/10, Bet365)
- Half-time draw at Motherwell (23/20, Unibet)
- Tom Rogic assist (2/1, McBookie)
- Under 3.5 goals and BTTS no at Dens (152/100, BoyleSports).