United head in to the second leg of this tie with a slender lead after getting the better of a very tight game at the Caledonian Stadium. But you can’t write Calley off just yet.
These sides finished second and third in The Championship having been two of the favourites for promotion at the start of the season, one thing is for certain; one of these sides is going to be judged to have had a poor season.
The hosts in particular will come under some real flack if they fail to make a return to the SPL. United finished six points behind league winner Ross County having let some crucial games slip through their finger. They matched Ross County’s points haul over the last 12 league games but it wasn’t enough given some of the problems United encountered earlier in the season. United’s issue was lacking a true out and out goal scorer, if you check out the league’s top scorers only one United player makes it anywhere near the top. Pavol Safranko has found the net 12 times this season and is second favourite to open the scoring here at 5.5, behind Nicky Clark at 4.5 who hit eight league goals this campaign. The comparison to the league’s runaway top scorers is huge; Lawrence Shankland doubled Safranko’s tally, Billy McKay got 17 for County and then Stephen Dobbie has continued to drag Queen Of The South through games with his 21 league goals.
It’s been a similar issue for Inverness, their top scorer has just seven goals to his name. All this considered I wouldn’t be expecting sparks to fly tonight and I’d be leaning to a selection such as under 2.5 goals at a price of 1.73. Both sides have averaged less than 2.5 goals in their games through the regular season and if the first leg is anything to go by this is going to be another tetchy affair.
After his red card in the first leg Liam Polworth will miss this game. Aside from that it looks like both teams will field the same sides that met at the Caledonian Stadium. Dundee United have a choice to make in attack as Osman Sow and Nickly Clark battle for a starting spot up front. Pavol Safranko came off in the first leg but is expected to start here; Clark was superb after replacing Sow so I could see him getting the nod which makes his price for the first goal look superb. His minutes have been restricted at times this season but he definitely hasn’t lost that instinct in front of goal, he looked sharp after coming on in the Highlands.
The longer this game runs it may come down to what Inverness can do tactically to change things. They may be forced to adopt a change in shape as The Tangerines will likely look to make themselves compact and tough to break down, knowing that sooner or later Inverness will have to try and go for it which will leave the gaps that the hosts can exploit. Dundee United are 1.73 to win the game, I think the draw looks like excellent value at 3.5.
Throughout the season United have always looked like they had that bit of extra quality over a lot of the other sides in this years Scottish Championship. They’ll be greatly disappointed not to have won the league given how well backed they were to do so at the beginning of the campaign. The Tangerines finished nine points clear of their opponents and after a solid performance in the first leg I don’t see them letting it slip. Calley do have the best away record in the league, having only lost three times on the road but I can’t see them overturning the deficit here. Dundee United draw no bet is only priced at 1.25 but is probably the safest option in this match. If you’re wanting a bit higher odds I like a score line of 1-1 at odds of 6.5.
Under 2.5 goals @ 1.73
Draw @ 3.5
Nicky Clarke to score first @ 4.5