Friday, January 25, 2008

Scotland Round Up

You know it's a bad day when your team scores a goal in each half, but they would not have been able to cover a +6.5 spread. That happened last weekend to Berwick Rangers of Scotland's Division Two. Iain Diack bundled home a brace for the visitors, but home side Peterhead netted nine times in reply. I'm sure Berwick wish they could blame it on the red card they received, but it was already 7-1 at the time.

After the jump, a look at last week's matches and this weekend's upcoming games.

In the SPL, top side Rangers squeezed out an 89th minute winner to defeat home side Inverness CT 0-1. Celtic maintained pace with Rangers, lazily defeating Kilmarnock 1-0 at Parkhead. Dundee United shocked me, for one, by pasting Aberdeen 3-0. The game hinged on a missed penalty by Aberdeen at 1-0, while United padded the win with two goals in the last ten minutes. Gretna, showing good form with the return of prodigal goal scorer Kenny Deuchar, beat Falkirk 2-0. Hearts topped Hibs 1-0 in the Edinburgh derby, and St Mirren ran over Motherwell 3-1 (which is the only score I predicted correctly). In the Third Division, East Fife took care of Forfar 3-0.

Record on last week's predictions: 3-4.

There was also some midweek action, as teams struggled to fit in Scottish Cup ties. Aberdeen bounced back from their weekend loss by continuing to deny Falkirk, winning 3-1. Rangers thrashed East Stirlingshire, but not by as much as they probably could have, keeping the score at only 6-0. And, in an all SPL clash, Motherwell and Hearts both managed to reverse their results from the weekend. Motherwell benefits from a 1-0 win.

This Weekend's Action:
Aberdeen (5th, 33 points) v. Hearts (10th, 24 points)
Both teams reversed my expectations last weekend, and both played in midweek. Aberdeen's home form has been very good this season, but too reliant on late winners in the last few ties. This will be an uncomfortably close match with one team grabbing a goal in the last 5 minutes. If Aberdeen gets it, it's a two goal win, if Hearts grab it, it's a draw. Prediction: 3-1

Hibernian (8th, 28 points) v. Gretna (12th, 13 points)
I learned my lesson last week. Since the good doctor has come back from being on loan, Gretna has looked a lot better. They are still 9 points away from safety, but will make Hearts, Killie and St Mirren very nervous after the split. Road form is still a question, though, so look for a draw here. Prediction: 2-2

Kilmarnock (11th, 22 points) v. Dundee United (3rd, 35 points)
Remember what I said about Killie last week? Forget it. Bland football is not the way to my heart. United is coming off of a confidence boosting win over fellow Euro hunters Aberdeen. Their tails are up and looking for points. Prediction: 0-2

Motherwell (4th, 35 points) v. Inverness CT (7th, 31 points) Caley Thistle were unlucky last week, holding Rangers until the last minute of regulation. Motherwell grabbed a cathartic win in midweek. ICT will probably be the fresher side here, but Motherwell should hold on for a draw. Prediction: 1-1

Rangers (1st, 50 points) v. St Mirren (9th, 25 points)
Saint Mirin was an Irish monk and Missionary who settled in the area which became Paisley, Scotland in the 7th century. Helen Mirren is an Oscar-winning actress, and hot. Neither of them will help St Mirren come Saturday. Prediction: 3-0

Falkirk (6th, 32 points) v. Celtic (2nd, 46 points)
Falkirk has had a run of overachievement through the years. The town has one hell of an architectural wonder. Maybe that's what will distract Celtic on Sunday, because the Bhoys are going to drop points here. That's right, Rangers will have a 6-point lead on Monday. Prediction: 2-2

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