For one of these sides, their season is about to get worse. Hibernian travel North for this Scottish Cup replay at Inverness, hot on the heels of their League Cup final defeat at the hands of our dear neighbours and Highland compatriots, Ross County.
It's a 7:45pm kick off at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, the prize for the victor will be a semi-final meeting with Dundee United and a tremendous opportunity to reach the Scottish Cup Final against either Celtic or the Rangers.
The first game at Easter Road ended in stalemate as Hibs failed to capitalise on their early superiority. Inverness were content to faff around and wait for something to happen and it did. Hibs scored early in the second half through James Keatings with a smart finish. This roused Inverness and Andrea Mutombo scored an equally impressive goal after great work by Lewis Horner who chased a ball to the bye line before sliding a ball into the box where Jordan Roberts touched it on to Mutombo. He was calmness personified as he rolled the ball under his studs before lashing it home with his left peg. Rumour has it that around eighteen passes were involved in that goal.
Both sides will have players returning for this game. Inverness have been seriously understrength of late with a full team of potential starters missing. One bright note on Saturday was the return to action of Richie Foran who injected some urgency and leadership on the park in what was an otherwise luckless display as we went down to legendary timewasters Hamilton Accies. Gary Warren and Carl Tremarco missed that game through suspension, and eight or nine others were out injured.
Hibs will have their talismanic top scorer Jason Cummings back and he can be a handful with his shoot on sight ability. Former St Mirren player John McGinn has been called up to the Scotland set up and will also be a menace and Anthony Stokes knows his way around. Kevin Thomson is a seasoned pro and James Keatings is energetic enough to cause problems. Liam Henderson is another that looked promising for Hibs along with Lewis Stevenson. All in, Hibs are not short of talent and this will be another tough test for both sides.
Latest team news:-
Inverness will be without Greg Tansey, the latest to suffer the archaic rule of two bookings and yer out. It'll be jumpers for goalposts and three corners a penalty next. However, to balance that, Carl Tremarco and Gary Warren should return after their misdemeanours saw them miss the Hamilton match. Richie Foran had twenty minutes against Accies and looked OK. Meekings has started training but there is no hint of a return for Raven, Vincent, Doran, Brill, Fisher or Mutombo.
Alan Stubbs will have Jason Cummings back after he missed the first game through suspension. Dylan McGeouch is a major doubt after he limped off in the first game and he missed the League Cup final.
tm4tj prediction:- We have had a rough time of it lately and a win here would be a tremendous confidence booster. Hibs have been poor of late as have we, but going down to Morton, Dumbarton and Queen of the South in successive Championship games is not the sign of a side deserving of a promotion shot despite their tremendous facilities and potentially massive fanbase. I said it before the first game that we would go through after a replay and I will stick by that prediction, but only if we up our energy levels and compete from the off. We will certainly need to monitor Jason Cummings closely, but it's what we do at the other end that is more important to the outcome of this tie. We have been less than impressive when trying to create anything and even less impressive getting shots on target. That has to change or we will be handing the Cup back to Hampden Park and then their will only be one Cup left in the Highlands.
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