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:

Martin Tyler

Tyler's stats and facts

Who has the most Premier League goals without scoring with his head? Martin Tyler knows......

Latest News RSS feeds

Skrtel earns Liverpool draw

A 97th-minute bullet header from defender Martin Skrtel earned Liverpool a 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday.

Johnson snatches derby win

Sunderland clinched a fourth straight win over Newcastle as Adam Johnson's last-gasp strike sealed a 1-0 victory.

McCoist leaves Rangers

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has left his role and will serve out the remainder of his contract on 'gardening leave'.

Redknapp: Errors deny Liverpool

Liverpool’s defensive problems are robbing them of the victories their attacking superiority deserves, says Jamie Redknapp.

Rodgers: Liverpool on the up

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool's performance in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Arsenal was better than in February's 5-1 win.

Features

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

"It was a bizarre game and lots of unusual things happened." That was how Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith summed up Liverpool and Arsenal's thrilling 2-2 draw on Super Sunday.

Premier League: Former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic settling at Stoke and ready for fresh clash with Chelsea

Premier League: Former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic settling at Stoke and ready for fresh clash with Chelsea

Bojan Krkic made his name at Barcelona but is now hoping to build a career at Stoke City, writes Adam Bate.

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Adam Johnson once again grabbed the headlines in the Tyne-Wear derby, finding the net at St James’ Park for the third season in a row to help Sunderland to a record fourth-straight victory over arch rivals Newcastle in the Premier League.