William Hill Scottish Cup 2nd Round Preview
The William Hill Scottish Cup continues this weekend as the Lower Division sides enter the fray with all the successful clubs from the previous round. There are 15 ties kicking off on Saturday at 3pm with one game taking place on Sunday and we will preview each game as the road to Hampden continues.
Alloa v Annan
Alloa (13/10) will be looking for revenge as they were relegated by Annan (6/4, draw 12/5) in May. The former second division side failed to avoid relegation, however Annan themselves lost out in the play-off final to remain in Division Three. This will also be a top of the table clash as the visitors currently lead the league while Alloa are in second. It is also one of only two all-Division Three ties. Alloa player-manager Paul Hartley has experience of winning the Scottish Cup in 2007 with Celtic and will no doubt be able to provide his players with the information needed to progress. However Annan have already drawn first blood this season with a 2-0 win in August.
Auchinleck Talbot v Threave Rovers
Auchinleck Talbot were handed a home draw after a first round away trip, the Junior Cup Champions came away with a narrow 2-1 win from Highland league opposition. The face the South of Scotland League Champions in what will be a tough encounter. The home side are 4/9 to win while the visitors are 9/2 with the draw being 3/1. Rovers may have 19-year-old Steven Degnan on loan from First Division Queen of the South, offering them a very potent attacking threat.
Clachnacuddin v Inverurie Loco Works
Invuerurie Loco (2/5) are on the road again after a 6-1 hammering of Dalbeattie Star in the opening round. Their reward for that victory is another tie with a Highland side, Clachnacuddin (9/2, draw 10/3). The home side came through against league opposition in the first round, beating Rothes comprehensively with a 3-0 score. Loco come into this game on the back of a 3-0 loss at home the Deveronvale. Clachnacuddin are currently in 12th in the Highland League while Loco are four points better off in 8th.
Culter v Spartans
North Superleague Champions Culter welcome East of Scotland League leaders Spartans to Crombie Park. The home side already recorded a 4-0 win against Burntisland Shipyard and are currently third in the table, three points off the top with a game in hand. The Spartans are making their first appearance in this year's Cup competition and will be boosted by a win in their most recent league game, despite their manager reffering to it as their worst performance of the season. The odds favour the visitors who are short odds at 1/3 win while the home side are 11/2.
Deveronvale v Berwick
Third Division side Berwick make the trek to the Highlands to take on Deveronvale. The hosts will be boosted by the news that rising star Graeme Rodger has committed his future to the club with a contract extension. Vale are 6th in the Highland League and recorded a much needed win at the weekend. Berwick are 7th in the Third Division but have really failed to put any fun together and have only won twice in nine games. The supposed superior side, Berwick, are odds on at 4/6, but with the draw at 13/5, that might prove a better bet than a home win at 3/1.
Fraserburgh v Elgin
Fraserburgh came through a seven goal thriller against the deceptively named Civil Service Strollers and have been rewarded with a visit from Third Division side Elgin. The senior side came away with a draw from league leaders Annan at the weekend, after scoring early they conceded with 16 minutes to go. The junior side are not fancied to upset their League opponents and we make them a 9/2 shot to get the win and progress to the third round. Elsgin are chasing a promotion play-off place in the league and are short favs at 2/5. But I would expect them to come away from this tie having booked their place in the next round.
Gala Fairydean v Golspie Sutherland
Golspie Sutherland were given a bye into the second round and now they face a tough task if they are going to progress. Gala put eight past their first round opponents, Hawick Royal Albert. They are once again 1/5 favourites for their match and it's hard to see past another comprehensive win.
Huntly v Queen's Park
Highland side Huntly are the other team who have drawn Third Division opposition in the form of Queens Park. The visitors are coming into the game on the back of a 3-1 win at home to Montrose and they sit just outside the play-off positions in Division Three. Huntly won their first Scottish Cup game in three years when they beat Newtown Stewart in the First Round. They are 6/1 to get their second, but at 4/11 it's hard to see past Elgin.
Montrose v Clyde
This is the other all Third Division clash in the second round. Clyde are in 5th, with their eyes set on a play-off spot. They come into this game in top form having put 7 past basement side East Stirlingshire. Montrose on the other hand were on the wrong end of a 3-1 score line against Queens Park. They are currently third from bottom, but the sheer low calibre of the teams behind them might save them from finishing bottom. They will of course view this as a chance to put their league woes behind them. Both sides are 11/8 and I think the value here is the home team.
Peterhead v Nairn
Nairn County had a 2-1 home win in the opening round against Selkirk. The Highland Cup winners should have progressed easily, but they needed an 89th minute winner after going 1-0 down. Peterhead are second from bottom in the Third Division with four points, the Highland side could be well worth a punt at 16/5. But Peterhead have recently undergone new management and although Jim McInally lost in his first game in charge he will see this as a chance to get a win. The Third Division side are 4/7 to win, but I still fancy an upset.
Vale of Leithen v Cove Rangers
Vale had a slender 1-0 win in their First Round tie with Girvan while Cove Rangers were more comprehensive when they beat Glasgow University 4-0 away. Vale have qualified for the East of Scotland league by mere goal difference. Rangers come into this game on the back of a 4-2 win away to Inverurie Loco. The visitors come into this fixture as 4/6 favs while Vale are 14/5 to get the win.
Wick Academy v Keith
Wick Academy beat Coldstream 9-1 in the first round, this came after an 8-0 win in the league so they are certainly on scoring form. This was the biggest winning margin in the opening round. Keith managed a 2-0 win away to St Cuthberts to make the second round. Both sides were odds on favourites in the previous round but it's the visitors who are 4/5 to go through. I think the ability by Academy to score so highly could see them past Keith and I would be tipping them at 5/2.
Wigtown v Stranraer
Stranraer are chasing the Third Division title at the moment and are lying just behind the league leaders and are flying high after a 3-1 win away at Peterhead. Wigtown & Bladnoch are currently competing in the South of Scotland league and are currently towards the bottom of the table. They have only won once from eight games and have lost five. It's no surprise that they are 11/1 to cause what would be the biggest upset of the round while Stranraer are 1/8 favs. I can't see anything past an away win here.
Boness Utd v Whitehill Welfare
Boness won a re-fixed game against Fort William in the first round, they comfortably gained passage with a 4-0 win. The Welfare knocked out Edinburgh University to set up this intriguing second round tie. The home side are 4/5 favs to progress while Welfare are 13/5 to knock out their opponents. These sides will be familiar with each other after a series of pre-season friendlies over the years. Both have also beaten Edinburgh University in recent competitions.
Edinburgh City v Irvine Meadow
City claimed an easy 3-0 win in the first round while Meadow were the only side to draw and they had to compete in a replay against Forres Mechanics. But Edinburgh won't have a walk in the park against the Stagecoach Super League champions. The visitors are 4/5 to book a place in the next round, but the home side have every chance of causing an upset here. It also might be worth looking at the draw at 5/2 for this one.
East Stirling v Buckie Thistle
This is the only game taking place on Sunday.East Stirling are cast adrift at the bottom of the Third Division with only three points and a goal difference of -19. If ever there was a League side who were going to get beat it will be them. Buckie Thistle are the 2010/2011 Highland League champions. They are coming into this game after a 3-1 win away to Strathspey Thistle in the league and will be eyeing up a win. The 6/5 about the visitors seems quite generous as they are the form side.