BY: Scott McGlynn
This Saturday sees the 124th Scottish Cup final at Hamden Park in Glasgow, as Inverness Caledonian Thistle take on Falkirk in a cup showdown between two of the country’s smaller football clubs.
Inverness, who are playing in their first ever Scottish Cup final, have had a fantastic season in the Scottish Premier League, finishing third and qualifying for the Europa League – another historical first for the club. Manager John Hughes, who was recently named Scottish Football Manager of the Year, has had his team playing attractive football this season as they finished behind league winners Celtic and second placed Aberdeen. A fantastic home league record was the foundation for their successful league campaign, losing only three matches all season at the Caledonian Stadium. A controversial 3-2 semi-final victory over Celtic, gives Hughes and his players the opportunity to go down in their club’s history as the first to lift the Scottish Cup. With goalscoring options throughout the team, Inverness will be hoping that a solid team performance will be enough to overcome their lower league opponents. Only in existence since 1994, Inverness have made their way through the Scottish lower leagues and are now established as a Premier League team. With European football guaranteed for next season and the possibility to win their first Scottish Cup, it may well be that season 2014-15 goes down as the greatest in their short history.
Falkirk, who finished mid table in the Scottish Championship this season, are featuring in their first Scottish Cup final since 2009 when they were defeated 1-0 by Rangers. Cup winners back in 1957, manager Peter Houston and his players will be hoping to write their names into the club’s history with victory on Saturday. Defeat of Championship rivals Hibernian in the semi final, secured Falkirk’s place in the final with striker Craig Sibbald scoring the only goal of the game against the run of play. Falkirk’s main goal threats will come from Sibbald and Rory Low, who is the club’s top scorer this season with nine goals. Like the semi-final, Falkirk will be hoping to keep the game tight for as long as possible, and then aim to hopefully sneak a late winning goal.
With Inverness playing in their first final, and Falkirk not having won the cup in almost 60 years, come the full-time whistle on Saturday evening, a new chapter of history will be written for one of these clubs. With both clubs only having relatively small fan bases, it may be that Hampden is below capacity on Saturday but you can be assured that both sets of fans will make it an occasion to remember.
Inverness can be backed at a best price of 1.29 (2/7) to lift the Scottish Cup with Falkirk available at 3.75 (11/4). If you think Inverness will complete the job within 90 minutes they are 1.62 (8/13).