I think we all know that the last four of the Betfred Cup isn’t what the sponsors and the broadcasters would have chosen.
But we get enough cup competitions with the Old Firm in them at this stage for us to enjoy something different when it comes along.
I played for Celtic obviously but I also played for clubs who rarely get to a semi-final, let alone a final, and we should appreciate this weekend’s games for what they are. Two matches with real unpredictability about them.
Let’s face it, how often do you get a semi-final draw when none of the four sides involved is sure who they would want to get?
You can make a strong case for all of them getting to next month’s final and lifting the trophy.
Get your money on a Hibs v St Mirren final because I’m going with St Johnstone and Livingston as the winners of the weekend semis.
Livi are the form team of the four – they’re actually one of the form teams in the country.
They’ve been much more consistent of late than St Mirren and I just feel the confidence they have built up with the wins they’ve been churning out will be a bigger factor than the confidence Jim Goodwin’s men got after knocking Rangers out.
The one I’m less sure about is St Johnstone v Hibs.
On peak form, Hibs are the strongest side left in the competition. The league positions tell you that.
But they’re not at peak form just now.
And although Jack Ross has the most options available to him, that might not be a good thing. There will be a temptation to play his recent signings but will it be too soon?
Callum Davidson will probably have a much clearer picture in his mind about his starting 11.
I’ve known Callum since he came in to train at Meadowbank back when I started out and we were also in Scotland squads together.
Saints have been able to find a way to win in the Betfred Cup – coming from behind at Motherwell and holding their nerve in a penalty shoot-out at Dunfermline – and I’ve got a feeling they’ll find a way again.
Friday night games on the TV have brought out good performances for Arbroath in recent years and we’re confident that will be the case against Dundee.
The way we finished the match at Queen of the South, when they were holding on, tells me that we’ve got every right to be optimistic.
The boys are playing well and we just need one big result to turn things around for us.
I’ve praised Jack Hamilton in this column recently and I texted him after Dundee beat Hearts to tell him how well he was doing. There was one save in particular when he rushed out to make a block that was top class.
It was good to read James McPake speaking highly about him as well this week.
All goalkeepers make mistakes. It’s about making sure they only happen once in a while.
Jack made the decisive save at Dens when we last played Dundee but hopefully we come up with finishes he can do nothing about at Gayfield.
I think Alisson Becker at Liverpool is the best keeper in the world just now.
All his top qualities were on display in the 0-0 draw with Manchester United – distribution skills of an outfield player, composure, reactions and commanding his box.
He’s the one all up-and-coming young goalies – and experienced ones – should study.