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

    I

    think Finnegans Wake would have been a better reference point than Ulysses. Far more rambling and incomprehensible.

    debra2927
    Football People On TV: Garth Crooks

    I

    f I recall correctly, Degsy predicted a 100/1 shot correctly the week after his 150/1 Blackpool 4 - 3 Bolton call. I stuck a fiver on it as an idle bet. Paid for a stag do in Munich. Heady days...

    baldini
    Backing Hull To Beat United 2-1...

    R

    odgers prefers Joe Allen to Lucas? If this is true then I'm setting aside a fortnight to finally learn the rules of American Football and I'll give up on real football.

    godzilla
    The Jammy Gossip

    Footer 365

    Jose Mourinho eyes Premier League title defence with new additions

    Jose Mourinho may freshen up his Chelsea squad with new faces as the club look to defend their Premier League title next season.

    Hull suffer Premier League relegation as Newcastle beat West Ham

    Hull City suffered relegation on a goal-laden final day in the Premier League after Newcastle secured a 2-0 victory over West Ham.

    Hull 0-0 Manchester United: Steve Bruce's men suffer final-day relegation

    Hull City were relegated from the Premier League after they drew 0-0 with Manchester United, who had Marouane Fellaini sent off.

    Mail Box

    Only One Real Manager Of The Year

    Winning the Premier League with the best squad in the Premier League is only par; Ronald Koeman did a whole lot better. Plus, the last word on Raheem and...

    Don't Slate Sterling For Ambition...

    Raheem Sterling deserves credit for his desire to quit Liverpool, according to one mailboxer. Also: why football should not be compared to business and Degsy's latest spot of bother...

    © 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company