Queen’s Park v Forfar
Queen’s Park made an impressive start to their League Cup campaign on Saturday as they recorded an emphatic 5-2 victory over Stranraer away from home. This win gives them the platform to qualify from Group H, which does not boast a single team from the Premiership. If they can overcome another League Two opponent in the form of Forfar, they will be in very good shape indeed.
While QP’s weekend victory was a little flattering, they showed that under new manager Owen Coyle, they are set to be more attacking, expansive and exciting than the dour side that was fortunate to win promotion last season. In Grant Savoury, they have picked up a quality midfielder and he marked his debut at the weekend with an excellent double, while Simon Murry, who was hampered by long-term injury last season, was quick to find his feet with a treble.
One thing that counts against them, however, is that they are playing their home matches in Stenhousemuir as their ground’s slow redevelopment continues.
Forfar, meanwhile, are untested this season competitively. Pre-season results, however, have not been encouraging. After losing to Dunfermline 6-0 at home, they followed that up with a 2-0 loss against Alloa on their travels. They are stepping things up against a Championship side on this occasion, and they will do well to even run their Glasgow opponents close judging by results and performances to date.
Falkirk v Hibernian
Hibs were the pick of the weekend’s performers as they ran riot against League One opponents Clyde, dismantling them 5-0 at home. Impressively, all five goals arrived in the first half and resulted in them making four changes before an hour had even been played to allow their players to rest up for the quick turnaround in games. It was a perfect start to the season for the Edinburgh club.
Up next for them is a trip to another League One outfit, this time Falkirk. The hosts picked up a 0-0 draw against Morton at the weekend in a match in which both teams played a long spell with 10 men. Falkirk were reduced after 53 minutes, meaning that they played around half the game depleted in numbers.
Though a full-time outfit and better able to cope with such a problem than most in terms of player fitness, there is presently a lack of depth in the Falkirk squad that is unlikely to be addressed in time for the visit of Hibs. Fatigued after the weekend, it promises to be a long match against an opponent full of confidence offensively and relatively well rested.
While there is little value in backing Hibs to win, there is better scope for backing goals in this match after the Edinburgh side’s emphatic weekend showing. Falkirk may have kept a clean sheet at the weekend, but they were also playing a relatively modest Championship side; they are stepping up here to play a far better opponent. With a new-look defence beret of Liam Henderson, one of their key centre-backs, it promises to be a tough game.
Raith Rovers v Peterhead
Raith Rovers enter the Scottish League Cup after a bye weekend in which they played a friendly against League One opponents Alloa. They were emphatic 4-0 winners in that match, setting them up for the opening game of the season in a near perfect manner. On Wednesday, they will host another League One rival in the form of Peterhead.
Raith have set up for the new season nicely, with one of their close-season arrivals, talented midfielder Scott Brown, who joins up from the Blue Toon. He is a player that will be missed tremendously at Balmoor.
Peterhead, meanwhile, were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Aberdeen at the weekend. While they were competitive for an hour of the match, they had to work hard defensively against the Premiership side on a very warm day. This was telling in the closing stages of the game as they conceded on two occasions. It will be difficult for the part-time side to bounce back so quickly ahead of a midweek away match.
Raith, meanwhile, will see this as a must-win game if they are to progress in the competition. The Fife side stand a strong chance of progression, with three fixtures against teams in the bottom 14 of the Scottish League setup last season.
Peterhead’s previous experience of playing Championship opponents so far this season is not good. In a pre-season friendly against Dundee little over a week ago, they lost 4-0 at home. Raith are not as strong, but they should still prove too good.
Aberdeen v Dumbarton
Dumbarton’s season got off to a nightmare start as they were defeated 2-1 at home by a Stirling Albion side beset by off-field problems. It was not only the result of the game that was concerning for the Sons, it was the manner it came about. They carried precious little threat against a team that was expected to be very vulnerable. In the meantime, they looked shaky defensively.
Stevie Farrell’s men have the look of a team that will struggle to score against League Two opponents, let alone those playing in the Premiership like Aberdeen. Even their goal at the weekend came about thanks to the type of defensive error it is unlikely that the Dons will produce.
Furthermore, their record against top-level clubs is not positive. Against both Dundee and St Mirren last season, they drew blanks in cup competition – and both of those were home games. Indeed, they have failed to net in any of their last six games against Premiership sides, including two 1-0 Scottish Cup losses to Aberdeen, the latest of which was in 2021.
Aberdeen, meanwhile, eased past League One opponents in the form of Peterhead at the weekend by a 2-0 scoreline away from home. In theory, that was a tougher game than this one against a rival in a higher league. In that match, Aberdeen dominated possession and gave up only four shots of any time. They will expect to be similarly robust defensively in this game.
Jim Goodwin’s side will be out to make a positive impression in their first home match of the season, and that means keeping a clean sheet as well as getting the win. They should achieve both.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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