ALL the focus is on the Irn-Bru Cup today and it’s often easier chewing on a girder than finding winners in this tournament.

It’s a cup I take as seriously as Brendan Rodgers from a betting viewpoint but today? I don’t have much choice but to run the rule over it on international weekend.

Picking winners is tough enough when you know some sides will be under-strength but organisers turned the difficulty up a notch when they invited in Northern Ireland, League of Ireland and Welsh teams.

Who really knows if Bray will lose their marbles on a 1000-mile round trip to Elgin. William Hill have them 4-5 favourites in the Highlands but in Ireland they’ve won just one of eight and have financial problems.

And what about Dumbarton at home to Welsh side Connahs Quay or Sligo Rovers who welcome Falkirk – both tough to call.

Sligo beat League of Ireland leaders Cork 1-0 last time out and are favourites at 23-20 with William Hill to beat Peter Houston’s Championship outfit who have been struggling.

I like Crusaders at home to Motherwell Under-20s and Linfield at Lowland League Spartans who were given a reprieve after losing on penalties to an Albion Rovers side who field an ineligible player.

Motherwell boss Stephen Craigan is a former Nothern Ireland international who knows Crusaders well and he’s warned this will be a steep learning curve for his kids.

Streetwise Crusaders have started the season with three wins from four, scoring 12 goals, and look a good shout at 13-10 with McBookie while Linfield are 4-7 at Betfred. The Northern Irish champs Linfield are threatening to sweep aside all before them and have won their first four league games without conceding. Linfield -1 pays 13-8 at Paddy Power and is worth a look.

Motherwell’s George Newell and Allan Campbell who have been involved in first-team action this season are in the travelling party. Team news is vital and teams can field two overage players.

If St Mirren – last season’s beaten finalists – go strong they should beat a Hearts Under-20s side who struggled at Formartine in the previous round. The Buddies are 4-6 at McBookie. Hamilton have added striker Paolo Buzzi from Italian side Monza to their U-20 squad and he could feature against a Cove Rangers side determined to keep flying the flag for the Highland League.

Tomorrow it’s TNS v Livingston in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final the Welsh won 3-0 at Almondvale. TNS aren’t as dominant this season while Livi are stronger and have made a solid start to life in the Championship.

If they put out a strong side I can see Livi gaining revenge in Shropshire and they are a best 16-5 at bet365. TNS are 5-6 with McBookie so I’m going for is Livi draw no bet at 21-20 with Unibet.

Recommended Bets

  • Crusaders
  • Linfield -1
  • St Mirren
  • Livingston dnb
  1. sean ireland 5 years ago

    Great spot with Crusaders MrF who play home games on a 4G artificial pitch which has led to them having a great record in home games losing just 3 home games stretching back to 2015/16 season from 38 home matches {LG} winning 28 of these games so should hopefully prove to be an advantage again today. Good Luck.

    • Mr Fixit 5 years ago

      Good info there. Obviously I don’t know too much about Crusaders but they seem to be a strong, non-nonsense side that should be able to beat a bunch of kids. Craigan has said it’s men against boys and this is the kind of game he wanted to show his players where they need to be in a few years.

  2. drogers 5 years ago

    Linfield & Crusaders. On Mr F.

  3. GregBrowning 5 years ago

    Good write up Mr F – can’t disagree with any of those

    • Mr Fixit 5 years ago

      Cheers, tough picking them today.

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