The Scottish Communities League Cup Semi-Finals take centre stage north of the border this weekend. Unlike its English counterpart both semis will be played to a finish in just the one meeting between the teams.
Here we preview both the Inverness Caley Thistle v Hearts and St.Mirren v Celtic ties to be played over Saturday and Sunday.
Inverness Caley Thistle v Hearts
Hearts fans will not have far too travel on Saturday as this game will take place at their city rivals stadium – Easter Road.
Terry Butcher is having an incredible season with his Inverness side. It is no mean feat to bring in players that are willing to be based in the northern reaches of the country but Butcher also had to work within the confines of a shoestring budget. He scouted wisely and convinced a young Andrew Shinnie to lead his attack alongside Northern Irishman Billy McKay. The pair have scored 32 goals between them so far this season.
It’s Caley Thistle’s attacking prowess which has them sitting in joint 2nd place with Motherwell in the SPL. Undoubtedly they will leak goals at the back but hard work ethic and eye for goal up-front has Inverness on an unbeaten 10 game run in all competitions.
Hearts have underachieved in the league this season. Currently languishing in 9th place the ‘Jam Tarts’ must be thankful of a decent cup run to take their minds off their league position.
It is not as if Hearts have been playing poorly either, they just seem to lack someone who will put the ball in the back of the net for them. Both their frontmen Callum Paterson and John Sutton have each scored 4 goals apiece all season.
Hearts suffered a 4-1 midweek defeat to Celtic away which will not have helped the confidence of this young side. Yet with the bigger support behind them on Saturday they must fancy their chances – they just need to be more lethal in front of goal.
St.Mirren v Celtic
The last time St.Mirren beat Celtic the then Celtic manager (Tony Mowbray) was sacked the very next day. That was back in March in 2010. Since then Celtic have won every one of the 8 games played between the sides and have yet to concede against St.Mirren.
This match will be played at Hampden Park on Sunday. The big playing surface of Hampden is more likely to suit Celtic than St.Mirren who go into this game most definitely the underdog.
Celtic will be counting down the days till they face Juventus in the Last 16 of the Champions League and Neil Lennon will be using each match between now and then as a guage to have his players peaking when they face their Italian counterparts.
St.Mirren manager Danny Lennon says he believes in ‘miracles’… Just as well, because he’ll need one come Sunday if his team are to reach the Scottish League Cup Final.
Celtic are odds-on 1/3 favourites with Betvictor to dispose of the men from Paisley on Sunday. If you fancy a flutter on the underdog then William Hill will give you odds of 10/1 that St.Mirren can overcome the team from the eastend of Glasgow.
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