SCOTTISH football aficionado Gerry Taylor (@thefurlongpole) shares his verdict on Monday night's Premiership match-up between Ross County and Motherwell.
Ross County vs Motherwell | Monday 3rd August 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
The Global Energy Stadium, up in the Highlands, hosts the final match up of the opening round of Scottish Premiership fixtures. It's one that looks like it should be an interesting encounter; recent games between the two have been fiesty, hard-fought affairs, with a few goals chucked in for good measure.
Here are some of the numbers to focus on..
- In their last four head-to-heads, Both Teams To Score has landed on each occasion (4-1, 2-1, 2-1, 1-2).
- Ross County have scored in 11/14 of their last home league matches (two of the failures were against Rangers).
- Motherwell have scored in 11/15 away from home last season in the league.
- Ross County have conceded in 10/14 of their last home league matches last term.
- Motherwell conceded in 9/15 in their most recent league aways.
The bookmakers outright odds seem fair enough for this game, with Motherwell going off as favs, at slightly odds-against. Both teams should contribute goal-wise, as I feel both attacks are decent, but defensively maybe not as good. Add in, they are both likely to be bedding a few new players into their back fours.
Motherwell are expected to have a goal or two in them, having further strengthened their attacking and creative options over the summer. The stats point also point to County being good for a goal at home – especially with Billy McKay and Ross Stewart to call on.
Staggies v Steelmen
It even sounds like it could be a bit of a battle, doesn't it? Well, it could be – after all it is the top two yellow carded teams from the Scottish Premiership last season going head to head.
- Ross County – 66 yellow cards in 30 matches last season.
- Motherwell – 65 yellow cards in 30 matches last season.
- Ross County had two red cards last season, Motherwell had four players ordered off.
- The three league matches between the two last season produced – 4 yellows/1 red, 7
yellows/1 red, and 5 yellow cards in the other match.
Both the Dingwall men and the the Lanarkshire side, similarly have players who tend to rack up multiple yellow cards throughout the season. Liam Fontaine, Callum Morris, Carl Tremarco, Coll Donaldson, Ross Draper, Ross Stewart, Michael Gardyne and Iain Vigurs for The Staggies. The Steelmen have Liam Donnelly, Declan Gallagher, Liam Polworth, Chris Long and Mark O'Hara, who are also no stranger to the refs book.
So given its matchday one, players could be a bit rusty going into challenges. Some of the aforementioned players should start, and be full on up against each other – hence, it could turn into a physical battle all over the pitch.
Providing he starts the match, Liam Donnelly looks worth a punt to receive a card. He was the most carded player in the league last season (one red/12 yellows in 22 matches). Liam played in 10 away league games last season, and incredibly was carded in seven of them! If he is in the team, the price of 2/1 (William Hill) to be carded, sounds more than fair, especially against this opposition.
When I was looking at the cards angle for this match, and when the referee appointment was confirmed as Nick Walsh. It didn't exactly put me off. He is strict referee, who is not shy at producing the cards when he deems that a player requires cautioned.
- Nick Walsh's last 17 matches in all competitions – 65 yellows & 5 red cards.
- Season 2019/2020 – 54 yellow cards in all 16 league matches.
- Season 2019/2020 – 3 red cards in all 16 league matches.
Walsh is averaging 3.57 yellow cards per game in Premiership matches last season, and as you can see he can produce a red when required.
Priced up at 4/1 (Bet365), a red card in the match is maybe worth a tickle. Certainly nothing I've seen in the opening Scottish Premiership matches played behind closed doors, would put me off. (two in the first matches)
Motherwell are a good side and were third best in the league last season, but their form in the early part of the year dipped a little. County were probably not too unhappy when the league was called, as they were on the slide big time, with only four wins in their last 24 matches.
So both teams are bound to be right up for this one, and will want to get this season off to a flyer – and if previous meetings are anything to go by, it should hopefully be a lively encounter.
Ross County vs Motherwell – Both Teams To Score and Over 39.5 Bookings Points (7/4 William Hill)
Ross County vs Motherwell – Liam Donnelly to be carded (2/1 William Hill)
Ross County vs Motherwell – Red Card in the match (4/1 Bet365)