Scottish FA Cup 2013
Glasgow Celtic are Scotland’s most successful side in the history of the Scottish FA Cup, winning 35 titles previously. So they are gunning for their 36th in the competition this season but they failed to capture the title last season, so surprises of course do happen. Despite the dominance of the two Glasgow giants, Celtic and Rangers in the Scottish domestic scene, it was Heart of Midlothian who broke through the ranks last season to claim their 8th Scottish FA Cup title. But the reigning champions fell in the third round this season against Hibernian in their title defence, so who are likely to follow in their footsteps in the 2012/13 Scottish FA Cup? That was a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final, in which Hearts crushed Hibernian 5-1.
The bookmakers have placed a high focus on Celtic of course, not only given their status in the competition, but they are the top side in Scotland. It was against Hearts that Celtic lost at the semi final stage of last season’s competition. So they are beatable and Celtic haven’t didn’t have things particularly easy in the early stages of this year’s competition. After a 1-1 home tie against Arbroath in the third round, they edged through the replay by a 1-0 scoreline. With an away tie against Raith Rovers in the fourth round, there are no certainties in the Cup. But Celtic are favourites, and overwhelming ones at that. Another consideration is that the Glasgow club have a distraction of Champions League knockout football to contend with this season too, so that could hinder their Scottish FA Cup progress and open the door for someone else.
Dundee United are trading as second favourites to go on and take the cup this term. The 2009/10 FA Cup winners are a middle table side the Scottish Premier League and they were drawn against Rangers in the fourth round. Glasgow Rangers, despite sitting in the Scottish Third division, makes for some interesting value in the Cup. While league duties for them may be a bit run of the mill, they will want to prove that their great standing in Scottish football hasn’t waned. They will relish taking on Premier League side clubs again, and out in the mid-teens for value in the 2012/13 Scottish FA Cup betting market, may be worth looking at. The last time they tasted FA Cup success was back in 2009, and although an outside shot, they will make tough opponents.
Attention though will be on the stronger Premier League sides of course, like Hibernian, Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Because Celtic are such strong favourites there is tremendous value in backing any of the other challengers, just to cause a surprise in the Cup. It hasn’t happened too often in recent times thanks to Celtic and Rangers, but recent wins for Dundee United and Hearts in the tournament do offer some windows of opportunity.