HE ended the league season with a winner, but who is Willie Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) backing in the Scottish Cup Final?
Falkirk v Inverness CT | Saturday 15:00 | BBC Scotland
At the start of the season, most observers would have laughed in your face if you’d suggested that the Scottish Cup Final would be contested by Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Falkirk.
Indeed, there seemed very little prospect of such a showdown ahead of last month’s semi-final fixtures – but that is exactly what we’ll see on Saturday when John Hughes’ side meet Peter Houston’s men.
Inverness CT are, rightly, warm favourites to win after a fine season and, as hinted at last weekend, punters should pay no attention to the 5-0 thumping that the Caley Jags suffered at Celtic Park.
Falkirk won’t have kicked a competitive ball in four weeks by the first peep of referee Willie Collum’s whistle on Saturday and it’ll be fascinating to see whether the Bairns are ring-rusty or as fit as a fiddle at Hampden Park.
There’s no question that Cup success would mean so, so much to both of these clubs, but I fear that the big occasion might mean that neutrals might not see a glut of goals this weekend.
The Scottish Cup Final is a match that usually delivers goals – indeed, five of the last seven finals has seen three or more goals scored.
However, St Johnstone’s memorable 2-0 win over Dundee United last season may have set a new trend – and I expect it to be a cagey, low-scoring affair on Saturday afternoon.
Falkirk defeated Hibernian in the semi-finals by frustrating the life out of Alan Stubbs’ side with dogged defending – as well as a fair sprinkling of good fortune – and Craig Sibbald’s late winner was very much so against the run of play.
I’m sure that Peter Houston will have a similar game plan in mind this weekend and John Hughes’ men may do all of the running.
However, the Cup favourites have scored just four goals in their last seven matches whenever they have ventured away from their home patch and they are sure to come up against a Falkirk side with defensive discipline in bucketloads – and a superb shot stopper in the shape of ‘keeper Jamie MacDonald.
Nerves will be jangling all around Hampden Park on Saturday and it would greatly surprise me to see either side at their best.
Therefore, I’m going to snap up the even money quote for fewer than three goals to be scored as my best bet when Inverness CT face Falkirk in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday afternoon.
Falkirk v Inverness CT – Under 2.5 Goals (Evens Betway)