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  • tm4tj

    Inverness CT -V- Dundee United - S/C

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    Quarter Final
    It's Scottish Cup action this Sunday as Inverness entertain Dundee United in the quarter finals with a 12:30 kick off time.
    The last time they squared up in a cup competition, it was quite a frenzied encounter with United reduced to 10 men and Ross Draper producing a last gasp winner in extra time. That was the League Cup where Inverness went on to beat Hearts in a thrilling semi-final and next week we have the showdown with Aberdeen to look forward to.
    However, this is the Scottish FA Cup and Inverness struggled to reach this round after two tough games against Stranraer whilst Dundee United comfortably knocked out St Mirren by 2-1. Inverness needed a replay to dispose of a stubborn Stranraer and despite scoring early through Ross in the replay, it took a late goal from Aaron Doran to eventually put away the League One side.
    United have gone from strength to strength in the league and have surged ahead of Inverness into fourth place.  They are the form team at the moment and have won their last three games, scoring freely three times in each game. They are the second highest scorers in the SPFL with 49 goals and have a positive goal difference of + 17. United come into this game on the back of a 3-1 hammering of Terry Butcher's Hibernian, scoring three and still managing to miss two penalties.
    Inverness would like to forget their last game, a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of a rampant Celtic, who in all honesty could have doubled their tally. In fairness, Inverness also had two or three really good chances to score but slackness and poor finishing saw us draw a blank as Celtic went on the rampage, Leigh Griffiths scoring a hat-trick. Dean Brill will want to forget the fourth goal as he let a long range effort from Commons dribble through his body and trickle into the net; taxi for Brill. 
    That was a hugely disappointing result after the euphoria of the Highland derby and an excellent away win at Perth. Losing at Parkhead is not the end of the world, but the magnitude of the gap between the teams on the park was embarrassing. I hope we can use the excuse that we had one eye on our forthcoming cup games, an excuse that Celtic certainly can't use.
    Dundee United's Andrew Robertson described making his Scotland debut as "a massive and proud moment". The 19-year-old Dundee United defender earned his first cap in midweek when he played the last twenty minutes for Scotland in their friendly win over Poland. On the same night, our own Billy McKay got the short straw when he was substituted after coming on as a sub due to Northern Ireland being reduced to ten men. Billy being removed as they re-jigged their defence in their 0-0 draw in Cyprus. Both players will have differing but key roles to play on Sunday.
    One key aspect of the game could be the pitch. The weather has turned somewhat damp ov er the last few days and this will not be helping Tommy's efforts to get the park repaired after the mudbath it was when we played Stranraer in the replay a couple of weeks ago. The areas outside of the penalty boxes had been heavily sanded in an attempt to get the pitch playable for that game, but constant rain turned it into a quagmire with the game in doubt right up until near kick-off time. It still looks threadbare and recent adverse weather is not helping, let's hope it eases before Sunday with a TV audience waiting to see the only all SPFL clash of the quarters.
    Inverness will be without Ross Draper who is suspended on the totting up procedure. He misses this game and our midweek game against Hibernian, but he will be available for the cup final next week. Maybe Hughes was writing off the Celtic game and wanted his team to get through the ninety minutes without any issues. Well, we achieved that and Aaron Doran was rested last week with a thigh injury, being replaced by Nick Ross. Marley Watkins started on the bench and he might be the preferred option this week, but Yogi is wary of his squad needing recharged prior to cup final day and with our heavy schedule in full swing, he might juggle his options a little.
    United have Curtis Good, Ryan Gauld and John Souttar missing this one.
    Other ties taking place over the weekend seem a little lop sided:-
    Raith Rovers 1 - 3 St Johnstone
    Aberdeen 1 - 0 Dumbarton
    The Rangers v Albion Rovers (sun)
    Kirkaldy versus Perth seemed like the likliest game to produce an upset, the other two would appear to favour the big teams, although Albion Rovers may find it tough at Ibrox.

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