Blogs & Opinion


Andy Walker previews the Scottish Cup quarter-final matches involving Celtic, St Mirren, Dundee and Dundee United

Andy Walker - Andy Walker Posted 25th February 2013 view comments

All eyes in Scotland this weekend will be focused on the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals, with two games live on Sky.

St Mirren entertain Celtic on Saturday in Paisley while the intriguing Dundee derby takes place in Tayside on Sunday.

Celtic will secure the SPL title in record time over the next few weeks but manager Neil Lennon will undoubtedly recognise the folly of taking Danny Lennon's St Mirren lightly in a cup competition.

Lennon: Celtic boss was left frustrated by St Mirren League Cup defeat

Lennon: Celtic boss was left frustrated by St Mirren League Cup defeat

Against all the odds last month St Mirren were on top form when beating Celtic 3-2 at Hampden in the League cup semi-final, bringing an end to Celtic hopes of a domestic treble.

Treble winning seasons don't come around too often and Neil Lennon was sore at losing sight of this one.

In Steven Thomson, Gary Teale and Paul McGowan, St Mirren have the players capable of hurting Celtic. Esmael Goncalves also got on the scoresheet at Hampden in a demanding fixture and since signing him from Portuguese club Rio Ave in January Danny Lennon knows he has given his team an extra dimension up front.

Having watched Celtic tear Dundee apart at the weekend at a canter, Saturday provides them the ideal platform for revenge and to finish the season on a high with a potential Scottish Cup success.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

Live on Sky Sports

St Mirren v Celtic
12.30pm, Sat, Sky Sports 1 HD
Dundee v Dundee United
12.30pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD

Having watched Celtic tear Dundee apart at the weekend at a canter, Saturday provides them with the ideal platform for revenge and to finish their season on a high with a potential Scottish Cup success.

If Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper and Giorgios Samaras are on their best form, Celtic could win comfortably.

Drama

Sunday's clash on Tayside is perfectly poised for some drama.

Given that Dundee prepared for their unexpected season in the top flight with First Division players on a budget to match, I have to say it was extremely harsh for the Dens Park board to sack Barry Smith after a 17-year association with the club.

I doubt whether anyone could have done a better job in the circumstances and his sacking highlights once again how brutal football management can be.

Former player John Brown has taken his place and has hardly been welcomed by fans concerned about his lack of recent managerial experience.

Many of them boycotted the Celtic game but if cup success is to be achieved the best thing the supporters can do is get behind the team and the manager for one last effort at making the season a success.

A win over near neighbours Dundee Utd would of course be the best possible start for John Brown. Appointed until the end of the season, he can buy himself some favour with what would be an unlikely cup success.

Despite being the home club, Dundee are huge underdogs for this one. I've been at both clashes this season and the truth is, United have won as comfortably as the 3-0 margins on both occasions would suggest.

Jackie McNamara has made an immediate impact at Tannadice, winning the fans over quickly with good performances; the only blip losing six goals at Celtic Park recently.

Johnny Russell, Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven have grabbed a lot of headlines this season for their flair but as well as potential Cup success on the horizon, I wouldn't rule out a strong finish to their league campaign, pushing Motherwell, Inverness Caley Thistle and St Johnstone all the way for the runners-up spot in the league.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Ed Chamberlin

The ultimate test

Ed Chamberlin previews Super Sunday's tactical battle between Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho....

Jamie Carragher

Balotelli will leave

Jamie Carragher expects Liverpool to sell misfiring striker Mario Balotelli before the start of next season....

Latest News RSS feeds

Lamela, Kane star for Spurs

Erik Lamela and a Harry Kane hat-trick helped Tottenham earn a 5-1 home win over Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League.

Valdes training with United

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes is training with Manchester United as he recovers from a serious knee injury.

Rodgers: Balotelli matter closed

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he has dealt with Mario Balotelli's shirt-swap against Real Madrid.

Everton take point at Lille

Everton maintained control of Europa League Group H with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Lille at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Celtic hold on for vital victory

Three goals in the latter stages saw Celtic claim a crucial 2-1 victory at home to FC Astra in Europa League Group D.

Features

Win El Clasico paintings: John Myatt works up for grabs

Win El Clasico paintings: John Myatt works up for grabs

Win portraits of Andres Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo!

Mario Balotelli's shirt-swapping and subdued efforts might not be tolerated for long by Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool

Mario Balotelli's shirt-swapping and subdued efforts might not be tolerated for long by Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool

When you’ve been outclassed as Liverpool were against Real Madrid, it’s understandable to conclude that the outrage over some shirt-swapping should be dismissed as a mere distraction obscuring rather bigger problems.

El Clasico Combined XI: Guillem Balague leaves out Neymar and Gareth Bale

El Clasico Combined XI: Guillem Balague leaves out Neymar and Gareth Bale

Real Madrid host Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 5 at 5pm. Here, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague picks a combined XI of Real and Barca players. Do you agree with his selections?