Well, that off-season break lasted about as long as England in a tournament…
Domestic football is back, and we’ll be looking to kickstart the campaign in style with a mixed treble this Saturday courtesy of the afternoon’s Scottish League cup action. We was gonna place the bet with Betfred given that they’re sponsoring the tournament, but then realised William Hill are offering a better payout. Sorry Fred.
Anyway, here’s our selections.
Annan Athletic v Stranraer
With Rangers and Motherwell also in their five-team group, both Annan Athletic and Stranraer head into their opening fixture at Galabank knowing that only three points will do. While it’s the visitors that will be expecting to seal the win, the hosts can at least push them all the way.
Stranraer are a division above Annan, and were unlucky not to get promotion last year having lost in the play-offs on penalties. Nevertheless, the firepower of Craig Malcolm and co should give the visitors ever reason to think they’ll start the new campaign with a goal or two in this cup clash.
League Two Annan weren’t exactly brilliant last year, but they were pretty reliable scorers at home, netting 39 in 18 matches. While keeping Stranraer out might seem unlikely, they can be more optimistic about finding the target.
Both teams could be a little rusty, which may level the field even further. We’d expect Stranraer to get at least a point, but think the smart money is on BTTS. Who knows, we might even see an early season shootout (no we don’t understand the purpose either).
BTTS Yes @ 4/7 with William Hill
Ayr United v Hamilton Academical
It’s been a period of regression since Alex Neil left Hamilton for Norwich midway through 2014-15, and they could be in for a dogfight in the SPL this term. But on a brighter note for their travelling supporters on Saturday, they should leave Somerset Park with three points in this League Cup encounter.
Ian McCall’s hosts are now up to the Championship following last year’s promotion, but they’relikely to come up short in this one. In truth, this competition isn’t going to be a priority for the hosts. While the same could be said of Hamilton, it could mean that the little bit of extra quality shines through.
Hamilton also have recent history on their side having avoided defeat in each of their two visits to Ayr in the 21 st century, although even the latest was back in 2012. Nonetheless, the skill of Dougie Imrie and Ali Crawford should see them through.
We don’t think it will be a walk in the park, but the odds are attractive enough to warrant its inclusion.
Hamilton Win @ 4/5 with William Hill
Clyde v Kilmarnock
For Killie, the 2015-16 campaign has hardly one to remember as they needed a play-off to seal their SPL survival. However, Lee Clark will be eager to start his first full season in charge with a bang; we’re backing them to do just that as they travel to Clyde.
Barry Ferguson’s side sit a full three tiers below Saturday’s opponents, and will appreciate the enormity of their task. While the Broadwood Stadium may give them a slight advantage, we just can’t see them stopping the visitors.
After all, the Killie strike force, led by Kris Boyd, will be seeing this as the perfect opportunity to get their season off to a flyer. With Greenock Morton, Berwick and Albion Rovers all to come too,
Clark’s men should have a fantastic chance of building momentum ahead of the big kick-off, starting with a win here.
Clyde might have a better chance of points in those future fixtures, but they’re likely to kickstart th campaign in disappointing circumstances. Back the visitors to previal.
Kilmarnock Win @ 1/2 with William Hill
A £10 treble returns £42.20 with William Hill