Rarely are cup finals contested by two teams so badly out of form, but Hearts and St Mirren battle it out for the Communities League Cup at Hampden Park with losses littering their recent records.
The pair lie tenth and eleventh in the SPL having carded one win in eight and a solitary success in seven respectively so neither will be exactly brimming with confidence; however, as the Jambos have only been beaten twice in their last dozen against the Buddies it’s they who command favouritism at 6/4 courtesy of Coral.
Stan James price Danny Lennon’s charges at 21/10 to lift their first major trophy since capturing the Scottish Cup in 1987 but they’ve beaten the Gorgie outfit in two of the pair’s three meetings this term, they also came out on top when the pair met in the last four of this competition in 2010 and they accounted for Celtic in the semis, so they’re a lively outsider.
As both attacks have been finding it tough of late, Stan James’ 8/11 for the showdown to generate fewer than three goals looks a banker and indeed it would be no surprise if St Mirren repeated their 1-0 victory at the semi-final stage three years ago, a result Paddy Power chalk up at 15/2.
Bet365 rate the Paisley side at 7/2 to combine victory with a clean sheet but in what looks certain to be a tight affair, punters might be best served by backing the Buddies at 19/5 (Ladbrokes) to shade it by a one-goal margin. Alternatively, Stan James rate the underdogs at 5/4 in their ‘Draw No Bet’ market.
As goals could be at a premium, the first scorer market isn’t exactly an obvious place to recoup Cheltenham losses but a modest interest in Esmael Goncalves at 10/1 (BetVictor) isn’t without appeal.
The Portuguese youngster has struck five times in nine matches since his loan switch to Love Street and seems to have saved his best form for cup competitions, which have accounted for four of his goals.