This Scottish Cup tie, postponed from last Friday, sees Cowdenbeath take on Rangers. With differing starts to their 2019, Rangers go into this as the bookies’ favourite against the League Two side, despite Rangers’ mixed domestic away form…
Cowdenbeath v Rangers
Wednesday 30th January, 19:45
Gary Bollan’s men are currently positioned in seventh and have a healthy gap between them and the teams threatened with relegation. This game will allow his side a break from their League Two season. Which unless Albion Rovers spark a major revival, is finished with form showing no real prospect of challenging for play-off places. Cowdenbeath have managed only two wins in six games which is owed to their lack of keeping clean sheets (one in six) and inability to score goals, they have produced little over a goal a game (1.33)
Despite building a healthy run of wins at the turn of the year, Cowdenbeath then lost 1-0 to Clyde at the weekend returning them to their inconsistent form of 2018. Cowdenbeath have shown they can handle teams below them in the league, however they have picked up only four wins against teams higher than them in the league and lost ten. Despite getting a win against, League One side, Raith Rovers at the beginning of the season, this form against higher placed sides has been shown in their cup runs, losing 5-0 against Hearts, 5-2 against Inverness and losing 3-1 in a match against East Fife. Thirty-seven places separate Cowdenbeath and Rangers in the SPFL, this match will prove to be a far greater test of their strength than the last round’s tie against Brora Rangers.
Despite the gap between the two sides, Cowdenbeath can find solace in the fact that they are a far better side when playing at home. With three wins from six home matches, Bollan will need to find that form against Rangers. His side have enjoyed a higher rate of goals at Central Park, with 1.38 goals per game this season. Also his team have accumulated more clean sheets at home in the past six games, with three in six matches.
The Ibrox club have had a rollercoaster of results from early December to their last match against Livingston. Despite only losing twice in the league in that period, they have dropped points where they would’ve felt they possessed enough quality to pick up all three. A contributing factor to this has been Gerrard not having a first choice back four. Since the loss to Aberdeen, Rangers have featured four different variations in their defensive lineup, though some changes were enforced through injury e.g Connor Goldson. As a result teams have shown that they can get goals against the Glasgow club, with them conceding seven goals in ten league games.
Rangers have been less capable away from home in this campaign than the last one. Compared to last season, Rangers have lost three away matches, which is the total amount of away losses in the whole of last season. As well as this, their goals per game ratio has took a hit in this campaign as they averaged 2.32 goals per away game last season, but in the 2018/2019 season they have managed only 1.58 goals per game in away ties. Although they conceded a goal per away match in the previous campaign, their lack of goals this term has shown they don’t out-score team as they did last year, making them vulnerable to losing points.
Despite the drastic changes in club stature from their recent meetings, Rangers enjoy healthy head-to-head stats with Cowdenbeath. The Ibrox club haven’t lost to the Fife club on the last five occasions, with over 2.5 goals being scored in three of the ties.
At a steep 35/1 for Cowdenbeath to win, the bookies point to there being a staggering gulf in class in this week’s Scottish Cup clash. With that being the case there is value in a Rangers win with added conditions to their win. For example, Rangers to Win to Nil can get odds of 1/2.
Like they did at the weekend against Livingston, Rangers to Win Both Halves is priced at 8/11. However to go against the bookies in this one, an outsider bet with good value would be a Cowdenbeath Double Chance bet (Cowdenbeath or draw) which is priced at 17/2.
For handicap odds, the odds are again stacked for a Rangers win, with Rangers to Win -2 at 8/13, for more value there is Rangers to Win -3 at 6/4, but Rangers’ stats for this season don’t really point to a huge win, with scalps of lower sides been infrequent throughout their season.
To compensate for Cowdenbeath’s better home form and Rangers’ average away form, my best bet would be Rangers to Win Both Halves (8/11) like they did at the weekend. Rangers to Win with a handicap of -2 at 8/13 would be good value and would be in-keeping with Rangers’ mixed away form.
Rangers to win – 2 @ (8/13)
Rangers to Win Both Halves @ (8/11)