The Scottish cup reaches the semi-final stage on Saturday with Championship side Inverness looking to spring a surprise against Hearts as both bid to reach a dream Scottish Cup final.
Caley Thistle in the better form
A 2-1 defeat to league leaders Ross County is the only blemish that Inverness have encountered over their past seven matches in all competitions. Most recently they won 1-0 away at Ayr in what was a fantastic result for the Highlanders as they cement their place in The Championship play-off places and also shorten the gap to third placed Ayr to just one point.
Caley have also managed to keep three clean sheets in their last six and have tightened up their defence which has been a key factor in their recent purple patch. They head in to this semi final as the underdogs, of course. If you fancy an upset they’re priced at 6.0 to win the match.
Hearts are off the back of a crushing defeat to their arch rivals: Hibernian. They come in to this huge clash with just one win in their last four and some very disappointing results. The Jam Tarts were crushed by Rangers 3-0 and it could’ve been much worse and more disappointingly they were beaten at by Hamilton just under a month ago. The Hibs defeat was a painful one, with many fans now calling for Craig Levein to be alleviated of his duties and for the club to commit to change, perhaps with a younger manager who could implement a new style at Tynecastle.
Their status as a top flight club with some excellent players still cements them as favourites for this match at 1.5. But Inverness have been here before, they won the Scottish Cup back in 2015 and beat Celtic on the way to doing so, they’ll be relishing another opportunity to write their names in to the history books.
Recent history favours Hearts
These sides are no strangers to facing each other as a result of Inverness’s extensive stint in the top flight. But in their past six meetings the Highland club have failed to get a win with Hearts winning three and there being three draws. There has been some thrilling games in amongst them but also some that Caley will be keen to forget. Their last meeting came at the beginning of this seasons League Cup when The Edinburgh club ran out 5-0 winners in a ferocious performance where they raced in to a 3-0 lead before half time. Hearts also hit five back in 2016; there was also an excellent 3-3 draw between the two that season where Inverness led at 2-0 and 3-2 but just couldn’t kill of The Jambos.
Much of their recent history against each other would suggest goals and these Scottish Cup matches can often be end to end so there’s high hopes for a good game here. Over 2.5 goals is available at 1.85. Both teams to score looks great value at 1.91. Despite the difference in leagues I fancy Inverness to get a goal here, you could back Inverness over 0.5 on its own at 1.62 which could be great as part of a same game multi.
Hearts have the quality
There is no doubt that Hearts have some fantastic players. The spine of their team is very strong, the likes of Uche Ikpeazu and Olly Lee will be key for Hearts if they manage to advance to the final. The question is whether or not Hearts can impose their quality and take this game to Inverness. They’re low on confidence after the Edinburgh derby defeat and there’s a negative atmosphere around the side at the moment; Levein will have to do his best to get them up for this one.
I do have the belief that the players will lift themselves back up for this match as they have a real shot at silverware here. I think Hearts will get through but it’ll be a tougher game than some are labelling it.
Both teams to score @ 1.91
Uche Ikpeazu to score anytime @ 2.4