Go for the Commons touch

  • By: Gareth Friel
  • Last Updated: April 11 2013, 8:52 BST

Our expert Gareth Friel previews this weekend's Scottish Cup and thinks Kris Commons can make an impact for Celtic.

Kris Commons: Can grab the opener for Celtic
Kris Commons: Can grab the opener for Celtic

Hibernian suffered one of the most humiliating days in their history last May when they were thumped 5-1 in the Scottish Cup final against rivals Hearts at Hampden.

On Saturday they can go some way to exorcising the demons of that day when they return to the National Stadium to face Falkirk for the chance to make it into the Scottish Cup final for the second successive season.

If they can see off the First Division side they will face either Celtic or Dundee United, who do battle on Sunday.

Hibs started the season well and looked good for a push for a European spot, but have fallen away badly since December, so much so that they will compete in the bottom half of the SPL table for the remaining five games.

All but two of their 10 league wins came between August and November and in some respects this cup run has taken attention off just how bad their SPL form has been - they have won only three of their last 20 league matches but in that time have defeated Hearts, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock in this competition.

As you would expect against a side sitting fourth in the First Division and 20 points behind the leaders, Hibs are big favourites to progress.

But the Bairns have a young side and a new manager in Gary Holt and could give Hibs a tough match. They also head to Hampden on the back of four successive wins.

Pat Fenlon's side should be able to grind out a result to ensure another final appearance and the chance to end that 111-year hoodoo so backing them to win by one goal at 27/10 looks reasonable.

In the other semi, it's Celtic who are the odds-on favourites to see off Dundee United. The SPL title is all but wrapped up so Neil Lennon's men can fully focus on trying to land the double.

Standing in their way is the 2010 winners of this competition Dundee United, now managed by former Celt Jackie McNamara.

McNamara has only lost once in 10 games in charge but that was at Celtic Park and by a 6-2 margin.

His side have drawn five of their last six in the league but a win over Aberdeen last weekend squeezed them into the top six at the expense of Kilmarnock.

Celtic are champions elect of course, but were beaten at Hampden last season by Hearts and Kilmarnock and St Mirren in January in matches they were massive favourites to win.

With the title pretty much in the bag, Celtic can turn all their attention to this tie so there is less likely to be such a slip up.

In the first scorer market I like the look of Kris Commons at 5/1.

The midfielder has 17 goals to his credit this term and bagged a couple at Hampden in 2011.

He has scored a number of important goals this season, notably against Helsinki, Helsingborg and Spartak Moscow in the Champions League.

Commons looks worth backing this weekend.

  • Preview posted at 0835 BST on 11/04/2013.