Blogs & Opinion


Andy Walker previews the Scottish Cup semi-finals

Hibernian - Andy Walker Posted 8th April 2013 view comments

A place in the Scottish Cup Final is up for grabs this weekend when Hibs take on First Division Falkirk at Hampden on Saturday before Jackie McNamara's Dundee United go head-to-head with favourites Celtic 24 hours later. Both ties are live on Sky.

Sitting alongside Pat Fenlon and his assistant Liam O'Brien, I saw Falkirk beat Livingston last midweek at Almondvale. In my view, this young Falkirk side can play as well as their SPL opponents but Hibs have a definite edge in terms of strength and physique. It'll be interesting to note how Falkirk cope with the physical presence of guys like James McPake and Ryan McGivern.

Pat Fenlon: Disappointing season for Hibs

Pat Fenlon: Disappointing season for Hibs

Former Hibs man Darren Dods offers strength, leadership and experience at the back but this is a glorious chance for young guys like Jay Fulton, Craig Sibbald, Thomas Grant and Lyle Taylor to shine. If they're given the time and space to play, Falkirk are more than a match for Hibs.

They have the added bonus of a new manager in place, former Norwich City academy coach Gary Holt. Paul Lambert recommended him highly and it's a wonderful opportunity to not only reach a cup final after just one game in charge; Holt will realise that Falkirk are a side geared up to invest in young Scottish talent and will give players a chance to make a name for themselves.

Silver-lining

This has been a disappointing season for Fenlon's men and only a place in the final of the Scottish Cup for the second successive year can give them a lift. Missing out on a top six place before the SPL split for the last five games of the season is a financial blow and will impact on the type of player Fenlon is able to attract for next season.

Both ties will be played to a finish on the day, there are no replays so look out for at least one semi-final to go all the way to extra time and penalties!

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

Top scorer Leigh Griffiths and defender Ryan McGivern are still on loan and fans are unsure whether their club will pay the money required to secure them on a permanent deal.

Dundee United go into their clash with Celtic on a high having secured a lucrative finish in the top six with a dramatic injury time winner over Aberdeen. Make no mistake, Dundee United have the players who can hurt Celtic in a one-off game.

Jon Daly leads the line with experience; Gary Mackay-Steven and Johnny Russell are getting back to full fitness and have the skill and ability to be potential match-winners.

One-off

For Celtic, this is a game that Neil Lennon will want to see his players being able to rise to the occasion. Over the last three years, Ross County, Hearts and St Mirren have all beaten Celtic at the semi-final stage of cup competitions while Kilmarnock also came out on top in last season's League Cup final.

There can be no doubt Celtic have better players than United but too many have been off form too often on this type of occasion.

St Mirren ended their hopes of a domestic treble with a recent win at Hampden and the supporters will be looking for their heroes to go one better this time to have the chance of ending the season on a high with a league and cup double.

Both ties will be played to a finish on the day, there are no replays so look out for at least one semi-final to go all the way to extra time and penalties!

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Carragher

Lack of intensity

Jamie Carragher says Manchester United could not handle the power or pace of Everton....

Dwight Yorke

Ramsey shines bright

Dwight Yorke looks at the importance of Aaron Ramsey as Arsenal beat Hull 3-0 at the KC Stadium....

Jamie Redknapp

Jose 'embarrassing'

Jamie Redknapp says that Jose Mourinho should focus on his own failings rather than blame match officials....

Latest News RSS feeds

Moyes: Terrible goals conceded

David Moyes feels Man Utd conceded 'terrible goals' on his return to Everton and says missing out on the top four hurts.

Suarez won't get carried away

Luis Suarez insisted he is not getting carried away with Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League.

Wenger pleased with Hull win

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was pleased with his side's performance as they eased to a 3-0 win over Hull City.

Lerner fuels Villa sale claims

Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner will not discuss his future at the club until the end of the season.

Martinez: We adapted well

Roberto Martinez saluted the focus and adaptability of his Everton squad after a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.

Features

Best of the Weekend

Best of the Weekend

We cast an eye over the weekend's Premier League action and pick out the highlights.

Embarrassment for David Moyes as Everton show the Manchester United boss how they have moved on

Embarrassment for David Moyes as Everton show the Manchester United boss how they have moved on

"Are you watching David Moyes?" was the cry from the Goodison Park faithful after Everton had scored their second goal.

Aaron Ramsey provided a powerful display at Hull to remind Arsenal fans of just what they've been missing

Aaron Ramsey provided a powerful display at Hull to remind Arsenal fans of just what they've been missing

Paul Merson had exuded an air of exasperation on Sky Sports prior to Arsenal’s game against West Ham in midweek. The balance of this incarnation of the team was all wrong, he argued. Where was the pace in this Gunners side?