The beginning of December marks a point in the football calendar at which a number of early-season ambitions have slowly, disappointingly, evaporated and a harsher, more realistic, outlook settled after more than three months of league action. Yet collective hopes are raised once more this weekend as all clubs look forward to the prospect of enjoying a decent Cup run.
Not surprisingly, Celtic, who travel to Tynecastle on Sunday, are bet365’s 5/4 favourites to lift the Scottish Cup and while Dundee United and Aberdeen are both quoted at 11/1 by Stan James, the pair face tricky away ties this weekend.
The Dons beat Dundee 3-2 when they met at Dens Park in the Premiership last month and they resume acquaintances with Aberdeen offered at 13/10 (BetVictor.com) to win. Yet Dundee have lost only one of their last five (to Celtic) and at 2/1 (Skybet), they look particularly good value.
Dundee United are 11/10 favourites (Paddy Power) to overhaul a Motherwell team (12/5, Winner.com) to whom they lost 1-0 only three weeks ago. It was, however, a rare victory for the Fir Park men and Ladbrokes’ 13/2 for United to register a 1-0 win has proved popular with punters expecting another close affair.
Home advantage accounts for Partick’s status as Betway’s marginal 6/4 favourites to beat Hamilton. The pair’s two league matches this season have yielded nine goals and the 2/1 available at William Hill for Saturday’s tie to produce more than 3.5 goals cannot be discounted. Hamilton head to Firhill as bet365’s 17/10 outsiders, odds which some backers may consider a little on the frothy side.
St Johnstone must overcome the challenge of Ross County again on Saturday in a tie they’re priced as BetVictor’s 8/11 odds-on favourites to win. The Saints defeated Ross 2-1 for the second time this season last weekend, although the final 15 minutes proved particularly nervy. Indeed, that result boosts the insurance-like appeal of Paddy Power’s 14/5, posted about the draw.
Inverness beat St Mirren 1-0 at Love Street in the pair’s only league contest this season and at 11/10 (Stan James) the Jags are taken to overhaul the Saints again on Saturday.
Sunday’s two ties pit Celtic (1/2, Skybet) against Hearts (5/1, William Hill) in a duel the Premiership league leaders should win with plenty to spare. It’s unlikely to be as comfortable for Rangers (8/11, Ladbrokes) at Ibrox, however. Kilmarnock might be 7/2 (Betway), but they look over-priced and at 14/1 (Winner.com) to win 2-1, they’re worthy of further consideration.
Inverness and Dundee Utd double – 17/5 (bet365)
Kilmarnock to beat Rangers – 7/2 (betway)
Dundee and Hamilton double – 7/1 (BetVictor)
St Johnstone v Ross County draw – 14/5 (Paddy Power)