Dundee - Edinburgh final guaranteed
08 February 2012
The Dundee derby, so often the fixture of the indoor season in the past, kicks off the semi-finals of the Scottish indoor knock-out competition at the Bells Sports Centre in Perth this weekend.
Wanderers were late entrants to this competition by sneaking into fourth place in the league at the expense of Glynhill Kelburne and Western Wildcats last weekend - all finished on 16 points but Wanderers had the advantage of a better goal difference. Four times Scottish indoor champions between 1999 and 2003 have since fallen from grace, but there were perhaps signs of revival this season.
Nonetheless, it would be a major surprise if they got one over on their great rivals Grove Menzieshill in the opening semi-final, if league form is anything to go by. Menzieshill won the first encounter 3-1 but gave Wanderers a massive 12-1 defeat in the return fixture, Chris Wilson scored five while Ross McPherson got a double.
Although Menzieshill have already taken the league title this season, Wanderers can expect no quarter from coach Bruce Cuthill. "I will be out to win the competition, every game that we take part in is taken seriously. But winning the competition will be difficult, you have to be ready for all the games and you can`t afford any slip ups."
Cuthill further added: "If we meet Inverleith in the final, they will be out for revenge and that should make for an interesting game. But the way it is set up, then any one of the four teams could win. But it would be nice to get the league and cup double though."
If Cuthill achieves his ambition, he will have to do it without international keeper Andy Ross and defender Andrew Thornton who returns to his coaching duties in the United States.
The Edinburgh derby between Inverleith and Grange is a difficult one to call, certainly Inverleith completed the league double over their rivals, but both games ended only with a single goal victory.
Stuart Neave, Inverleith`s coach, will want to finish his final competitive games before next weekend`s European baptism with a piece of silverware under his belt. "Grange have run us close in both league games this season, so it should be good," he said. But he will have to do it without key players, Chris Grassick`s injury will probably keep him out for the rest of the season, and goalkeeper Allan Dick is also not available. The latter is perhaps not such a loss as Neave commented on how well Graham Stuart has been playing recently between the posts.
In contrast, David Knipe, Grange`s coach, hopes to have a full squad out for the Inverleith clash. "It will be a difficult task to win the cup, we haven`t managed to beat either Inverleith or Menzieshill this season, and our games with Wanderers are always very tight, but it is always a huge benefit for us to be playing the top sides so that we continue to learn and progress."
Realistically, Menzieshill and Inverleith are favourites to make the final, but the cup always has the knack of throwing up a rogue result from time to time.
In the outdoor Arthur McKay Scottish Cup Highland and Granite City Wanderers play their delayed tie for the right to play first division Inverleith at home in the quarter finals.