Match preview: Dundee United versus Dunfermline Athletic

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

Lower Tiers: £20 Adults / £10 Concessions (u12s – £5)
Upper Tiers: £22 Adults / £13 Concessions

Match information:

Saturday 24th, 15:00 at Tannadice Stadium.

Team news

Dundee United:

Lewis Toshney, Fraser Fyvie and Jordie Briels (injured).

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, Joe Cardle, Michael Paton and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Referee

Euan Anderson.

Previous games refereed involving either team this season:

Challenge Cup

Dunfermline Athletic 2-0 Arbroath (5Y, 1Y/R, 1R)

Championship

Dundee United 1-0 Brechin City (2Y)
Dundee United 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic (7Y, 1PEN)

What Dundee United are saying

“If you play at home and you lose you get criticism and it is legitimate. However, I also have to defend the players because they tried and we did come back from 2-0 down [against Queen of the South] to make it 2-2 before losing an easy goal which killed us. We have to go now and win games. The next game against Dunfermline will not be easy but if we want to go higher then we need the three points. You are under pressure all the time. Look, this is not just about me. This is about the club and the team. OK, we had some individual mistakes against Queen of the South but I trust my players and they have to trust their own quality. I am still looking to have a team on the field that can win the game. I told the boys that it is not about individuals it is about the club. If we want to go into the play-offs we have to win games.” (Csaba László, manager)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“You can see the confidence. Getting the win in the Inverness game, and even in that, you could see the confidence coming back. The players were trying to create, and taking chances, and having that bit of creativity in the team makes a difference. We have just go to to make sure we follow up every result with the type of performance we have lately. Teams are struggling to score goals against us, which is always a good sign because you don’t want to give away cheap goals. We are going to have to defend at times this weekend, because they have got decent players as well. But hopefully we can make them defend.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Line ups last time out

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Paul McMullan (2016-17)

Former Dundee United players

Callum Morris (2014-16)

Last seven meetings

Championship:

10/09/16. Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Dundee United
08/11/16. Dundee United 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
28/01/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Dundee United
11/04/17. Dundee United 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
30/09/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-3 Dundee United
02/12/17. Dundee United 2-0 Dunfermline Athletic

Challenge Cup:

12/11/16. Dunfermline Athletic 0-1 Dundee United

Prediction

Dundee United 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Dundee United: 1.15
Draw: 2.40
Dunfermline Athletic: 2.70

Best bet

Under 2.5 goals: 1.07

Table

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 12.58.14

Complete fixture list

Greenock Morton v Brechin City.
Queen of the South v Livingston.


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How Alex McLeish could have won the Tartan Army over with more changes to the Scotland squad

The Scottish Cup final will take place between Celtic/Rangers v Aberdeen/Motherwell on May 19th with Scotland playing friendlies against Peru on May 29th then Mexico four days later. It seems counterproductive to select players at teams that will be entering continental qualification the following month for these end of the season friendlies. For example: if, Leigh Griffiths were to get a bad injury – and he has had three separate setbacks throughout the campaign – then it would be catastrophic for the national team and their lack of quality depth at centre-forward. Also, what is to be gained from picking any Celtic player considering most people realise what they can do in a Scotland shirt. Callum McGregor, Craig Gordon, Griffiths, Jack Hendry, James Forrest, Kieran Tierney and Stuart Armstrong have 110 caps combined.
 
It is a near certainty that the top four spots in the Premiership will be filled by the teams that sit in them. The champions (Celtic) remain favourites to repeat the treble and as a result, the Europa League first qualifying round spot would get past down to the team in fourth (Hibernian) with second (Rangers) and third (Aberdeen) also entering the tournament at that stage. The first leg taking place on July 12th, the Champions League first qualifying round kicks off over the two days previous; less than six weeks after the friendly in the Estadio Azteca.
 
It is fair to select those that ply their trade in the Premiership, Premier League and English Championship in the main. Of course, you have Danny Wilson and Johnny Russell in MLS that should be in the pool considered for qualification to the European Championships in 2020I also believe that there should not be a rush to fast-track members from the under 21s to the first team; unless there is no-one better. So, the likes of Chris Cadden and John Souttar should see out the under 21 qualification for next year’s European Championships and hopefully get that tournament experience and be the better for itOmitting the those out of that scope along with those from the top four Scottish sides, that is still over 50 to choose from in the spring friendlies.
 
Alex McLeish selected a squad of 28 with seven first time call-ups (Barry Douglas, Dylan McGeouch, Hendry, Jon McLaughlin, Oli McBurnie, Scott McKenna and Scott McTominay) and a further three uncapped players (Jamie Murphy, Jordon Archer and Kevin McDonald). Yet, he could have gone further to freshen up the stale stench that Gordon Strachan left. The former Scotland manager was often criticised for not selecting on form players in the Premiership enough and sticking with the same old faces regardless of how they were performing.
 
Here are some changes that McLeish could have made to his squad for the games at Hampden against Costa Rica and Hungary that would have appeased those that were frustrated by his former teammate:
 
Goalkeepers
 
Jamie MacDonald instead of Allan McGregor
 
Now I can understand why McGregor was picked. He is Hull’s first choice goalkeeper ahead of the capable David Marshall. However, the former Rangers shot-stopper is 36. MacDonald is five years younger than his colleague and has earned 10 U21 caps. Along with McLaughlin, he has been a real standout in the division this season for a Kilmarnock team that is flying under Steve Clark.
 
Defenders
 
Stephen O’Donnell instead of the injured Kieran Tierney
 
Callum Paterson is the undisputed number one right back and there has been little to no effort in finding someone that can deputise for him going forward. Ikechi Anya and Tierney have slotted in there from time to time. O’Donnell has had plenty of experience in the Premiership and he was also capped at U21 level. It is more sensible to have a look rather than selecting three left backs. Two of which (Robertson and Tierney) we know will be in nearly every squad for competitive games when fit.
 
Liam Lindsay instead of Grant Hanley
 
Straightforward here. We know what Hanley is capable of with 28 caps over the previous seven yearsLindsay was the glue that stuck Partick Thistle’s backline together. He has impressed at Barnsley to the extent that Premier League sides are keeping a watchful eye on him regardless if the Tykes stay up or are relegated to League One.
 

Paul Hanlon instead of Charlie Mulgrew

Mulgrew is a 32-year-old with 31 caps playing down in League One with Blackburn. At 28, Hanlon is entering his prime in his testimonial season with a Hibernian side that has lived up to their potential since winning the Scottish Cup in 2016. It is about time that he got his first cap, he has earned it.

Midfielders

Graeme Shinnie instead of Kenny McLean

I am not sure what Shinnie needs to do to get a cap for Scotland. Considering that there are few defensive midfielders of quality that are eligible – especially after the retirement of Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher entering his mid-30s – it seems a no-brainer to include him in friendlies to see if he can take his form from Aberdeen to the international stage. McLean has had his opportunities to show that he is worthy of being in the pool of players considered for the next four years and would be fine to stick around for the spring friendlies considering he is now a English Championship player.

John Fleck instead of the injured Dylan McGeouch

Fleck was overhyped to a ridiculously extend that he was unlikely to make the heady heights that were thought of him when he made his competitive debut for Rangers at 16 and then became the youngest ever person to participate in a cup final played on British soil. He was much sought after by Sheffield United but he would not move down to the Steel City for four and a half years after interest was first lodged. Fleck established himself at the turbulent Coventry City in the third tier and won the League One with the Blades in his first season with the Blades. He and fellow Scot, Paul Coutts – sadly sidelined through injury after 14 games – have been the two standouts for the side in playoff contention. A call-up would have been redeeming and worthy for the centre midfielder that was capped at u17 to 21 level.

Scott Allan instead of Stuart Armstrong

Allan, John McGinn and McGeouch, make up the exciting Hibernian midfield which is second only to Celtic in ability. Since he returned to Easter Road he has started five games as the Hibees collected three wins (Aberdeen, Hearts and Rangers) and a two draws (Kilmarnock and St Johnstone) versus the top eight; scoring once and assisting three times. He is another player that reached double-digit caps for the U21s. Armstrong’s inclusion would have been a non-issue, but he came back after two months out with a knee injury for a four-minute cameo against Rangers a week last Sunday. He is never going to be match fit for Costa Rica and Hungary.

Forwards

Sam Gallagher instead of Matt Phillips

Having the two centre forwards called up limits the options that McLeish has. It is possible that Gallagher does not want to commit to Scotland. However, if he does then having someone with the quality to play the lone striker role is always welcomed. With James Forrest and Matt Ritchie as those that play on the right flank, Phillips would be the odd man out.
 
If that was not a viable then I would have included Stevie May.
 
Gary Mackay-Steven instead of Ryan Fraser
 
Barrie McKay can play in the spring friendlies whereas Fraser seems the like the best option at left wing moving forward. Selecting a few Aberdeen players would have endeared himself to his former club, whose supporters often noted (rightly so) that their better performers were getting overlooked. Mackay-Steven has been in good form and when he is confident he can perform acts that some members of the squad can only dream of.

You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Brechin City versus Dunfermline Athletic

Relegation can be sealed on Saturday against Greenock Morton if they fail to pick up three points in either tomorrow or the weekend’s encounter. Regardless, they look destined to finish last and return to where they came from last season.

Victory seems unlikely as the City have won only once in all competitions this season.They avenged the loss to the Highland League outfit in the League Cup earlier on in the campaign against Buckie Thistle in the Scottish Cup. The City’s best result in the league is a one all home draw with Dundee United, a week after their national cup success.

If there was ever a game for the Pars to boost their poor away form – a run of results so poor that they rank below Dumbarton – there is no more favourable opponents than the part-timers. It can improve their odds as outsiders in the pursuit for that last Premiership playoff spot. If Athletic were victorious in this game in hand on the Ton then they would lay a point behind with the better goal difference.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch
 
Ticket prices:

Parent & Child: £18 (plus £2 for each additional school-age child in family party)
Adults: £15
Adult Concession (over 65’s and under-18’s) : £8

Match information:

Tuesday 20 March 19:45pm at Glebe Park.

Team news

Brechin City:

No news.

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, Michael Paton and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Referee

Barry Cook.

Previous games refereed involving either team this season:

Championship

Dumbarton 0-4 Dunfermline Athletic (4Y, 1Y/R),
Falkirk 1-1 Brechin City (3Y),
Dundee United 1-1 Brechin City (5Y, 1Y/R).

League Cup

Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-0 Brechin City (3Y).

Line ups last time out

Former Brechin City players

Euan Spark (2016-17)
Finn Graham (2012-16)

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Andy Ryan (2013)
Michael Paton (2008)

Last six meetings

Championship:

23/09/17. Brechin City 0-3 Dunfermline Athletic.
23/12/17. Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Brechin City.

League One:

26/03/16. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Brechin City.
20/02/16. Brechin City 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic.
05/12/15. Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Brechin City.
08/08/15. Brechin City 1-6 Dunfermline Athletic.

Challenge Cup:

03/09/16. Brechin City 1-5 Dunfermline Athletic.

Keys to the game

While each and every one of their four points have came in Angus, Brechin are slightly better scorers on the road (nine in 14 compared to 10 in 13). Yet, they are shrewder in terms of goals conceded at home; they have only conceded four or more once and held sides to just one goal in half the fixtures at Glebe Park. Patience will be key but Athletic could do with netting seeing as they failed to do so from open play in 427 minutes and counting. It is the longest league run since the 10 hours and eight minutes from October 6th to December 8th 2007. If that means putting more emphasis on attack and being more susceptible to conceding, so be it. They need anything to revitalise the strike force out a slump that has seen no centre forward score since the mid-season transfer window closed.

 

Prediction

Brechin City 1-3 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Brechin City: 8.00
Draw: 3.50
Dunfermline Athletic: 0.53

Best bet

Dunfermline Athletic (-1): 1.50

Table

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 08.33.59

Other fixtures

Dundee United v Queen of the South


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Dunfermline Athletic versus Greenock Morton

While it is never intelligent to make assumptions. It can be said with fair certainty that the Pars will be victorious with their game in hand against Brechin City on Tuesday. That means that this upcoming fixture is vital in keeping their playoff hopes alive rather on the life support in which it currently is.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

SRJ Windows South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5

Match information:

Tuesday 21st, 19:45 at East End Park.

Team news

Greenock Morton:

Jamie McGowan, Jai Quitongo and Ross Forbes (injured).

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, Jean-Yves M’voto, Joe Cardle and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Referee

Andrew Dallas.

Games reffed with either side:

Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Livingston (3Y).
Greenock Morton 0-1 Falkirk (2Y).

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“It is all about who performs on the day. You have got to identify how they score their goals. They will turn you, they will put balls in behind you so you have to be ready for that. They are a real danger at setpieces and score a lot of goals from corners and free kicks, whether at the first phase of it or the second phase of it. We know to play against them, we have played against each other enough. We know all their players, they know about us so we need the right attitude on the day.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

What Greenock Morton are saying

[on bringing in Gary Fraser on emergency loan]: “Just to get him on the pitch was important. It was a bit of a frantic game and maybe it is not what he’s used to, but he will get used to that pace and the demands of the game. Once he gets up to speed I think he will be a good acquisition for us. In the midfield area we have Michael Tidser, Gary Harkins and Andy Murdoch playing pretty much every minute of every game. And we do not really have too many experienced options in there if we need to change it, or if we want to move players around, so that is the main reason why we brought Gary in.” (Jim Duffy, manager)

Line ups last time out

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Robert Thomson (2013).

Ross Forbes (14-15).

Former Greenock Morton players

Declan McManus (2014-15 and 16).
Lee Robinson (08)

Last four meetings

Championship:

03/02/18. Greenock Morton 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic.
21/11/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 Greenock Morton.
09/09/17. Greenock Morton 3-2 Dunfermline Athletic.

Scottish Cup:

20/01/18. Dunfermline Athletic 1-2 Greenock Morton.

Keys to the game

Dunfermline are a team that prefer to be at home while Morton are built to pick up points away from Cappielow. No team has played more (15) and lost less (2) than the Inverclyde outfit on the road. By that logic it has draw written all over it, as was the case in the last league meeting at East End Park. The only thing you can say with fair certainty is that it will be a close encounter. Only once in the last eight meetings has either side won by more than a goal (29/04/17: Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Greenock Morton).

Eliminating errors are key from the Pars. They gifted the victory to Jim Duffy’s men after leading by two goals at half time in September and again for the winner last month.

Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Greenock Morton

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic: 1.32

Draw: 2.50
Greenock Morton: 2.18

Best bet

Dunfermline to win and over 2.5 goals : 3.50

Table

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 10.23.53

Complete fixture list

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 10.24.45


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: Dunfermline Athletic versus Inverness Caledonian Thistle

It will be 136 days since these two sides faced one another in the Highlands. It would have been three and a half weeks sooner if not for the Caley Jags successes in the Challenge Cup and the brutal effects of winter.
Afore the fixture in October, the Pars sat second in the table on 20 points after 10 games and The Pride of the Highlands moved up from ninth to eight the previous matchday, some 11 points off of Dunfermline. Now that gap sits at five points with a couple of games in hand for the relegated Premiership team.
The worry for the Fife outfit that while the drop in form from October to December was a disappointment, they were still in third come the new year. It was thought that the mid-season transfer window would provide an opportunity to address the issues with the squad and push on to finish as high up as possible. It has not with no win in four since the its closure; the worst performing full-time team that has played more than once since February.
There is a real concern that never mind finishing as good as last season for Allan Johnston, they may finish as low as eighth. A slide that has been on and off for the previous 16 match days.
 

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Match information:

Tuesday 13th, 19:45 at East End Park.

Ticket prices:

SRJ Windows South Stand: Adults £20, Concessions £14
All other stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12
Away Stands: Adults £18, Concessions £12, U12s £5.

Team news

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine and Sean Murdoch (injured).
Jason Talbot (suspended).

Inverness Caledonian Thistle:

Coll Donaldson and Nathan Austin (hamstring).

Referee

Kevin Clancy.

Previous games refereed involving either team this season:

Greenock Morton 3-2 Dunfermline Athletic (6Y, 1Pen).
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic (7Y).

 

Line ups last time out

 

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Brad McKay (2016).

Former Inverness Caledonian Thistle players

James Vincent (2013-16)
Nat Wedderburn (15-16).

Last three meetings

Championship:

28/10/17. Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
12/08/17. Dunfermline Athletic 5-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

League Cup:

27/06/16. Dunfermline Athletic 1-5 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Keys to the game

Gary Warren has suffered defeat seven times in the last 11 league games he started with no clean sheets. The club captain will be in the line-up tomorrow with the absence of their best centre back, Coll Donaldson. In fact, when the Englishman starts, the Caley Jags are conceding 1.90 goals per game compared to 0.81 when the former Dundee United defender does.

John Robertson has already won against Dunfermline using a 4-4-2, but he may get more fortunate on the road with the other favoured formations, 4-5-1/4-3-3. At the very least it would match up with the Pars man for man in midfield.

Allan Johnston altering the 4-4-2 into a 4-3-1-2 and it has had no effect in changing their fortunes. His side have failed to score in the last three league games (their worst run since December 17, 2011 – January 2, 2012) and have no wins over that period. It is of little to no surprise when two (Joe Cardle and Kallum Higginbotham) of their four (Nicky Clark and Ryan Williamson) most creative influences have been bit part players from the bench. Cardle has played 37 in the previous two fixtures whereas Higginbotham only featured for 23 minutes against Queen of the South. As a last attempt to salvage the season, it would seem sensible to line-up with a front three of Cardle, Clark and Higginbotham.

Prediction

Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Odds

Dunfermline Athletic: 1.28
Draw: 2.60
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: 2.30

Best bet

Over 2.5 goals: 1.04

Table

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 08.31.25

Complete fixture list

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You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match preview: St Mirren versus Dunfermline Athletic

The beast from the east is not the nickname for the Pars, but the media title attached to the cold front that clashed with storm Emma which ravaged Great Britain garnering a large number of postponements in Scotland for a week. The enforced winter break has seen both sides without a fixture for a fortnight. Due to the call offs, it has been three games since they last met.
 
During that period little has changed for the Buddies, who lost their first game in nine at Livingston but have continued to appear as champions in waiting whereas Athletic have tinkered formation in the previous couple of ties in an attempt to stall the poor form.
 
Second looks as improbable as it can get while fourth seems unlikely, but the only hope of salvaging Dunfermline’s season. Going to Paisley and taking points off a side that have dropped five from a possible 39 would be the right way to go into the final 10 fixtures with a renewed sense of optimism.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Ticket prices:

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 13.59.17

Match information:

Saturday 10th, 15:00 at Paisley 2021 Stadium.

Team news

St Mirren:

No news.

Dunfermline Athletic:

Aaron Splaine, Michael Paton and Sean Murdoch (injured).

Referee

Nick Walsh.

Previous games refereed involving either team this season:

Dunfermline Athletic 2-2 Dumbarton (6Y).

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“It does not come any harder than St Mirren away and if you look at the next four or five fixtures they’re really difficult. But it’s an important period and if we can put a run together we can climb up the table. If you look at the table, they are still miles ahead and they are a good team. They have been really consistent this season. But we just need to focus on ourselves because we need to get wins. We have had far too many draws, so if we want to kick-start our season we need to get wins, and hopefully we can do that at the weekend. I think it would be a massive boost to everybody if we could go there and win the game. It is hard to predict results in this league and everybody’s got to play everybody else. But, from our point of view, hopefully we can take care of our side of the business and end up in that top four because that’s where we want to be.” (Allan Johnston, manager)

Line ups last time out

 

Former St Mirren players

Allan Johnston (2009-10)
John Potter (2005-11)

Former Dunfermline Athletic players

Gavin Reilly (2016-17)
Josh Todd (2016 trial)
Jack Ross (2010-11)
Jamie Langfield (2004-05)

Last seven meetings

Championship:

24/06/16. Dunfermline Athletic 4-3 St Mirren
19/11/16. St Mirren 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic
14/01/17. Dunfermline Athletic 1-1 St Mirren
11/03/17. St Mirren 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic
16/09/17. Dunfermline Athletic 3-0 St Mirren
16/12/17. St Mirren 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic
26/01/18. Dunfermline Athletic 2-1 St Mirren

Keys to the game

Jack Ross seen fit to change his formation to a 4-2-3-1 after suffering a heavy defeat to the Pars in September. Since then they taken 26 points from a possible 39, winning two of the last three. Johnston had altered from his usual 4-4-2 formation to a 4-3-1-2 in the last couple of games that have brought about no goals scored or conceded.

The biggest issue for all to see in the last contest – that was televisied – was that the Paisley outfit dominated the midfield as Ian McShane and Stephen McGinn with Cammy Smith – who would flit from playing attacking midfield to secondary striker – proved too much for an ill Dean Shiels and Nat Wedderburn. Now with James Craigen, James Vincent and Tom Beadling playing as a flat three with Nicky Clark dropping deep as a number 10, it is hoped that the very least they can do is interrupt the rhythm that Ross wants them to play at. 

Lewis Morgan and Ryan Williamson have shared the pitch for the Scotland U21s and will face each other once again in a positional battle. Williamson will have his work cut out to contain him, as defending is not his strong point. However, he can put Morgan under pressure by pushing up the park and cutting crosses back into the box, a trait that he excels at as he is sole consistent creator in the Pars starting 11 at present.

Prediction

St Mirren 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

St Mirren: 1.00

Draw: 2.60
Dunfermline Athletic: 3.15

Best bet

Over 2.5 goals: 1.17

Table

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 10.06.57

Other fixtures

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 10.07.42


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

Match report: Motherwell versus Heart of Midlothian

In North Lanarkshire this afternoon, the Well made the Scottish Cup semi-final by defeating Craig Levein’s capital outfit through a spectacular Carl McHugh strike.
 
It will be the Steelmen’s fourth trip to Hampden Park this season, and the furthest they have progressed in the tournament since 2011.
 
In the lead-up to the fixture, Stephen Robinson opted to stick with the same system (3-4-1-2) and personnel that earned them three points in Dundee a week yesterday whereas the Hearts manager made changes: Don Cowie and Manuel Milinković dropped to the bench and were replaced by Marcos Godinho and Ross Callachan; Andy Irving missed out due to the returning Prince Bauben and after starting in the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on Tuesday, Demetri Mitchell was not in the 18 due to injury. As a result, John Souttar started on the right side of defence in an alteration from a 4-4-2 to a 3-4-2-1. 
 
The game had the feel of that of a cup tie as both teams started with an attacking emphasis that remained true throughout the 90 minutes. Yet, it was the home supporters who were the first to be appeased as they had the ball in the back of the net twice in the opening 630 seconds.
 
Chris Cadden thought he had opened the scoring after he kicked the ball away from Jon McLaughlin who had trapped it against the ground. But, the referee, Andrew Dallas inferred that the goalkeeper had possession and awarded the Jam Tarts a free kick. In the following passage of play, Tom Aldred was the first to be booked, as he mistimed a challenge on Marcus Godinho. Lafferty sent the ball into the side netting as he curved the ball around the wall, attempting to put it in the bottom left corner of Trevor Carson.
 
Soon after, Curtis Main scored. Callachan left the goalward bound corner as McLaughlin scrambled to clear the ball, only to knock it off the post as it traveled back past him to Main, – on the line and caught by surprise – who got the slightest touch off his heel to sent it over.
 
Milinković started the second half in place of Callachan. To go along with the change, Levein, tinkered the formation to a 4-3-3 in an attempt to provide more support for Lafferty; and it worked
 
Steven Naismith charged into the box from the left flank as Cedric Kipré with similar pace looked to nip in ahead of the Scottish internationalist. Yet, he was not quick enough as all he achieved was bundling him over and leaving Dallas to award a penalty. The Northern Irish centre forward stepped up and made amends for his saved attempt on Tuesday by lashing it right of centre as his compatriot dived to Lafferty’s left.
 
The former Rangers striker nearly doubled his tally as he struck the far post when he came rushing in on the right flank. That was enough for Robinson to make a change with Nadir Ciftci being replaced by Ryan Bowman. Yet, it did not keep HMFC’s top scorer quiet as he forced Carson into a lunging save from a powerful downward header.
 
While the first half was Motherwell’s they were nowhere near that level since the arrival of the French winger as they had to deal with hard, but fair challenges to quiet the flamboyance of the Genoa loanee.
 
With their most dangerous outlet tamed, the home side needed to get some attacking verve. Robinson elected to switch formation into a back four as Cadden and Charles Dunne were positioned at right and left back with Craig Tanner dropping back into centre midfield. English winger, Elliott Frear came on in place of Tait with under 15 minutes to go. It worked as the Steelmen started to pepper McLaughlin with shots and got out of their half more freely.
 
McHugh will not be able to play in the semi-final through suspension, but he secured his side’s place among the final four as the club captain brought Christophe Berra’s clearance under control and unleashed a right-footed volley with enough power that while McLaughlin got a hand on it, it was not enough to stop it nestling in the top left.
 
The Well now know that Celtic, Rangers or Falkirk await them in the draw that takes place following the conclusion of the final tie of the weekend.

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