Scottish Cup final to be close

Our Gareth Friel expects a tight game in Saturday's Scottish Cup final between Dundee United and St Johnstone.

Last Updated: 17/05/14 at 15:13 Post Comment

Stuart Armstrong: Too big at 5/1 to score another Scottish Cup goal

Stuart Armstrong: Too big at 5/1 to score another Scottish Cup goal

Our Gareth Friel expects a tight game in Saturday's Scottish Cup final between Dundee United and St Johnstone.

When the Scottish Premiership split into two groups of six last month, most of the attention centred on the bottom half of the table.

In the top six, the focus was on the race for second place between Aberdeen and Motherwell.

That allowed Dundee United and St Johnstone to prepare for this Saturday's Scottish Cup final at Celtic Park (kick-off 1500 BST), somewhat under the radar.

It also helps explain why both teams won just one of their post-split matches having headed into their last five games in good form.

Saints boss Tommy Wright was nominated for PFA Manager of the Year for guiding the club to sixth in the Premiership, reaching the League Cup semi-finals and, of course, the first Scottish Cup final in St Johnstone's history.

Wright's men were tipped up by this column in our outright preview back in November, having entered the competition at 20/1. Given their cup pedigree over the years, it may come as a surprise to some that this will be their first Scottish Cup final.

Their opponents and Tayside rivals United won this competition in 2010 and are looking for their third success. They defeated three fellow Premiership sides and Rangers to reach the showpiece final in Glasgow.

The Perth-based Saints had a simpler run to the final, seeing off Livingston, Forfar and Raith before a superb semi-final victory against League Cup winners Aberdeen.

Just five points separated the sides in the Premiership and three of the four league meetings finished level so there's not much between them.

A key player in United's season overall and in their run to the final has been Stuart Armstrong.

The midfielder has 11 goals to his name for the season including strikes against Kilmarnock, Inverness and Rangers in previous rounds.

This could be a very cagey match but United are such an attacking side that the likes of Armstrong should get chances breaking from midfield.

He is 5/1 to score at anytime which looks a wee bit big.

As already mentioned, there's very little between these sides. It's hard to predict which way this one will go.

Neither side has played particularly well recently, but the last few weeks have all been geared towards this match.

As much as United have been attacking and free-scoring at times this season, this game could be similar to the League Cup final that went all the way to penalties between Aberdeen and Inverness.

It's 12/5 the draw after 90 minutes which, to me, seems worth backing.

  • Posted at 0845 BST on 16/05/2014.

  • Related News

    Most Commented

    Readers' Comments

    W

    ow.. ten paragraphs on West Ham in winners sections.. wow.. Its really Christmas time!!!.. Forever blowing bubbles..

    metal
    Premier League Winners And Losers

    A

    couple of wins and everything is OK! Sorry you still haven't got a striker who can consistently goals. Keep searching. I don't think Liverpool will make top four not even Europa League this time around.

    larrylawrence
    Rodgers still targets top four

    I

    f he can find the right player? Surely the manager of one of Europe's top clubs has a well-researched short-list and has a good idea of who he wants to bring on-board? If I can find the right player sounds like someone going out on Saturday night on the pull, and the nearer you get to midnight the lower your standards drop.

    CamberleyGooner
    Wenger to buy centre-half

    Footer 365

    Premier League: Chelsea go three points clear of Man City with 2-0 victory at Stoke

    Chelsea will be top of the Premier League table on Christmas Day after beating Stoke 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

    Italian Super Cup: Napoli beat Juventus 6-5 in penalty shootout after 2-2 draw in Doha

    Napoli goalkeeper Rafael was the hero as his side claimed a 6-5 victory on penalties over Juventus in the Italian Super Cup.

    Sky Bet Championship: Sami Hyypia quits Brighton after six months in charge

    Sami Hyypia has left Brighton after the club accepted his resignation as manager.

    Mail Box

    Becoming A Proper Fan Again In 2014

    Man United fans can thank David Moyes for making them appreciate their club again. We also have mails on Liverpool, Newcastle, another Christmas XI and more...

    Wenger Has Made Arsenal Mentally Weak

    We have plenty of reaction to yesterday's result, with Mailers sick of Wenger, Mertesacker and Skrtel in particular. Plus why it's not yet time for 'Austin for England'...

    © 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property