Oppose shaky Gers in Cup

  • By: Gareth Friel
  • Last Updated: February 1 2013, 7:35 GMT

Gareth Friel is tipping Dundee United to get the better of Rangers this weekend in the Scottish Cup.

Jackie McNamara can make a winning start against Rangers
Jackie McNamara can make a winning start against Rangers

The Scottish Cup returns this weekend and there's no doubt about the tie that will capture the most attention.

Jackie McNamara takes charge of Dundee United for the first time against Rangers in the first of the fifth round ties on Saturday at Tannadice.

It will be an intriguing contest. Rangers have faced SPL opposition twice this season winning one (2-0 v Motherwell) and losing one (3-0 v Inverness) so it's hard to gauge how this one will go.

Dundee Utd haven't won at home since August while Rangers are unbeaten in 15 since that loss to Caley Thistle. Of course, the standard of the opposition has to be taken into account.

Rangers have kept six clean sheets in 14 away matches which, with all due respect to the Third Division, is pretty poor considering the quality of the players they are up against and the resources at Ibrox.

Despite their unbeaten run, the Gers have been far from convincing and it seems that they are doing just enough to get by more often than not.

The question then is can they lift their level of performance in order to defeat Dundee Utd? If they are to go through they will have to improve significantly and I'm not sure they are capable of doing it.

All bookies make United the odds-on favourites which seems just about right.

Rangers haven't taken up their allocation of tickets for this match and there's certainly been a bit of needle in the build up. Backing the hosts looks the way to go for me and I fancy the 2/1 on them to be winning at half-time and at full-time.

In the all-First Division clash between Dunfermline and Hamilton, it may be worth backing Billy Reid's visitors.

The Pars' promotion bid has fallen apart in recent weeks and they are in danger of being overhauled by Livingston having challenged Morton and Partick for most of the season.

It's five defeats in eight for Jim Jefferies and his side while they've won only once at East End Park in two months.

Hamilton suffered a really disappointing 3-1 defeat to Dumbarton at the weekend but they had lost only once in their previous nine, notching victories against the top two, Partick and Morton, in the process.

All in all, 4/1 on an Accies win looks a bit too big to me.

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