GW 5 – Ones to Watch

Matt: Welcome to the first Midweek Bonus Round of the new season, a popular addition to the game since its inception a few years ago. This one looks particularly intriguing, given we are missing many of the more recognised leagues and having the far more unknown quantities from the National North & South Leagues to replace them. Those leagues have, in the past, caused plenty of fun and games when they’ve been introduced and with a couple of cup competitions by way of the EFL Trophy and the Scottish League Cup also included, this gameweek could throw up all manner of results for our players.

It’s one tip apiece from Ally and myself for midweek rounds, so here goes! After sifting through the various teams and fixtures on offer, I’m leaning towards the Scottish League Cup as something of a ‘go to’ competition – there does appear to be groups and therefore fixtures that, on paper at least, have thrown together somewhat of a mismatch in this new League Cup format. One such example is the tie between Hibernian and Brora Rangers. Hibs will start as strong favourites for this game and rightly so, the Scottish Premiership side coming up against a club who are still classed as part-timers – although this is perhaps slightly unfair on Brora as they are the current Highland League title holders, but are yet to have the opportunity to play off for a place in Scotland’s League Two as a result of the Covid-19 situation. Unbelievably this will actually be The Cattachs’ first competitive game since the 7th of March, having had their season curtailed due to the pandemic, so it’s a very tough ask to go to an established Premiership team and get any kind of result, especially considering that Hibs have made an impressive start to the season. The Green & Whites of Edinburgh currently sit third in the table and have scored 5 goals in their previous two home matches, including a couple against leaders Rangers in a respectable 2-2 draw. Whether or not The Hibees decide to rest a few first team players remains to be seen, but regardless of that I’d be shocked to see anything other than a comfortable home win here – one that should involve plenty of goalmouth action for Jack Ross’s side. Good luck to you all.

Ally: After the previous season was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, the new Scottish Premiership season got underway at the beginning of August when many of Europe’s suspended leagues were still coming to their delayed conclusions. With two months of competitive football behind them, I’m hoping Premiership side Hamilton Academicals will make short work of their Scottish Cup tie at Third Division Annan Athletic.

They haven’t exactly set the top division on fire with their start – quite the opposite in fact as they sit joint bottom with St Mirren and St Johnstone with a return of seven points from nine games – they do at least have a squad that has some match sharpness under their belt, unlike hosts Annan who haven’t played competitively since 7th March. The Accies also happen to be a far better prospect away from their New Douglas Park home, scoring 7 of their 8 league goals so far on their travels and have found the net in all 5 league away games of the new season. Indeed, despite their lowly league position they have scored in every away game in 2020, and even if manager Brian Rice does elect to rotate his squad for this game, I expect the combination of Premiership class and match sharpness to prevail against the Black and Golds and the points (this competition is run in a league format!) to return north to South Lanarkshire. Good luck with your selections.