Small Scottish Football Clubs Book Their Big Day Out
It isn’t the final that the sponsors would have wanted, but on 30th May Hampden Park will welcome Inverness Caley Thistle and Falkirk to contest the Scottish Cup final.
The bookies may have predicted a Celtic v Hibernian final, but minnows Inverness and Falkirk stolen their places. Falkirk’s 1-0 win over Hibs on Saturday had earned their fifth Scottish Cup final appearance, while Inverness’s 3-2 extra-time drama-filled triumph over Celtic earned them their first ever Scottish Cup final appearance to finish their 20th ever season.
With average attendances of 3,800 and 4,500, should both Inverness and Falkirk bring similar figures to the cup final then Hampden then they would fill just 16% of the national stadium. Going by last year’s final match-up of Saint Johnstone and Dundee United – when all of Perth and half of Dundee appeared to empty – we should expect part-time fans of both Inverness and Falkirk to make the trip to Glasgow to watch their showpiece event. Should the match be as exciting as that 2-0 win for Saint Johnstone, any fans that do make the journey could be well rewarded.
Inverness are, of course, the clear favourites with Falkirk unlikely to even make the play-offs for promotion from the second tier, while Inverness are sitting comfortably in 3rd in the top flight and likely to finish there. It’s difficult to make any predictions based on past meetings given that the pair last met in May 2009, Falkirk winning 1-0.
Falkirk could, however, be off the pace given that the Scottish Championship’s league season finishes on 2nd May, while Inverness will be working until the week before to keep their squad fit and ready, with a warm up the week before against none other than their semi-final victims Celtic.
Whether Falkirk will benefit from the fresh legs or find themselves out of form we cannot know. By the evening of the 30th of May we will have that new Scottish Cup winner.
Scottish Football Talking Points Of The Week:
· Saint Mirren are gone. At least virtually. Monday night’s 3-0 loss to Ross County put the Saints ten points from second bottom and manager Gary Teale’s side can now do little more than prepare for life in the Championship. Whether or not he will be joining them for that challenge remains to be seen.
· Celtic cruised to a 4-1 victory over Kilmarnock in midweek, extending their lead at the top of the table to five points, although that may well be eight should they win their game in hand. Easier to count than Celtic’s lead at the top was the number of goals Leigh Griffiths scored. The match-ball in his hands as he went home did the job.
· The post-split fixtures have been announced, throwing up a battle for survival between Motherwell and Ross County on the 2nd of May, a Dundee derby on the last day of the season and – bizarrely - not one more match for Celtic on a Saturday.