Hearts and Dundee United kick off their season with a fixture in the group stage of the Scottish League Cup. Who will come out on top?
Hearts’ final few months of the season were nothing short of terrible, with the Edinburgh club finishing with a winless streak that started in mid-April after their 3-1 victory over Inverness CT.
Craig Levein’s side were unable to win any of their last 7 league games, picking up a single point when they visited bitter city-rivals Hibs. The remaining 6 games had all ended in defeat, and the Edinburgh also weren’t able to stop Celtic as they picked up yet another FA Cup title.
Pre-season hasn’t been the kindest to Hearts, and the club seems to have been struggling a little in some obvious, must-win games. A 2-0 defeat to Arbroath at the end of June was soon followed by an impressive 7-0 thrashing of Shelbourne, before losing again to Glenavon, with their most recent outing ending as a 1-1 draw in Angus Beith’s testimonial game at Tynecastle.
In the division below, Dundee United are preparing for their 4th season in the Scottish Championship. The Terror missed a huge opportunity to return to Scotland’s top flight following a unsuccessful attempt at beating St Mirren in the play-offs.
The Buddies got the better of United after the sides were unable to overcome one another in both legs of the tie. The game at Tannadice ended goalless, and the return leg ended 1-1, meaning that the teams then went to penalties. Somehow, the Terrors missed all 4 of the penalties they took- 3 of which were saved by Hladky- and St Mirren sealed their status in the Scottish Premiership.
Dundee United’s pre-season has been okay so far, with Robbie Neilson’s men picking up a draw with East Fife, a 6-0 win over Brechin City as well as a 3-2 defeat to League One side Dumbarton.
It’s very early on in the season to judge how a club is doing, but Hearts should be the clear favourites in this tie solely because of the gulf in quality between the teams, at least on paper. Playing at Tynecastle will also give the Jambos an extra boost, although that isn’t to say Dundee United won’t put up a tough fight, especially if a game like this serves them as a test of what’s to come in the following months. We’re going to back Hearts to narrowly win this game, with a final score of 2-1.
The last 6 meetings between these teams have seen a treble of wins for Dundee United, 2 victories for Hearts as well as a 0-0 draw back in September 2013. The sides haven’t met in the League Cup since October 2012.
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