Saturday 21st January 2016 Kickoff: 1500hrs Ross County v Dundee United Football – Scotland – Scottish Cup The top teams enter the Scottish Cup this weekend with each club looking to make it to Hampden for the final in May. One of the most intriguing ties of the round is a rerun of the 2010 Scottish Cup final as Ross County host Dundee United. United were winners on that occasion but much has changed and they now travel north as the Championship side whilst County are an established Premiership outfit and will be favourites to reach the next round.
It’s been a strange season for Ross County thus far as they sit in the top six of the table having won just five games in the league. With only three points separating five teams it’s a measure of how competitive the race for sixth is going to be. There is still a chance that County could be dragged into the relegation scrap but I expect they will have enough about them to ensure they are a Premiership team for another season. That should allow them to concentrate on progressing as far as possible in this competition and a home tie against lower league opposition certainly presents them with that opportunity. However, United have accounted for County in three of the past six years in the Scottish Cup – including a 3-2 defeat in Dingwall last season.
Dundee United suffered a disastrous season last term which eventually ended in them finishing bottom and being relegated to the second tier. There have been major changes at Tannadice since them including a new manager and a massive overhaul to the playing staff. Those changes have had a positive impact and restored a more positive mentality around the club. United sit in second behind pre season favourites Hibs, but their form has tailed off just of late. One win in their last five means they are now six points adrift, most of that damage coming from a 3-0 loss to Hibs a fortnight ago. Contrast that sort of form to a run which seen them win 10 and draw 2 earlier in the campaign and it’s fair to say that the Arabs are going through a sticky patch at the moment. That is evidenced in their defensive record – in their last five games they have conceded seven goals whilst the 12 games previous to that they conceded just four goals. Keeping clean sheets was key to their good form and have to find a way to return to that sooner rather than later.
Ross County v Dundee United Betting Tips
These two are pretty familiar with each other in the Scottish Cup of late and played out an excellent game at the quarter final stage just under a year ago. United were successful on that occasion and seem to have their opponents number. It was ultimately heartbreak for United, however, as they lost out to eventual winners Hibs on penalties.
County’s home form has definitely picked up of late with just one defeat in their last six games at Dingwall, winning two of their last three including a 3-2 win over rivals Inverness on Hogmanay. United’s away form has went the other way, of late, managing just one win on their travels in their last five. Of course, league form is not always the best guide but there’s often not much between the mid to lower half of the Premiership and the top end of the Championship. County know that failure to progress from this competition will all but end their season other than a toke effort for the top six and that motivation – plus the quality they possess with Liam Boyce upfront – could well be the difference and they can finally get the better of United in the Scottish Cup.
Ross County 17/20 @ Betfred