IRN-BRU Cup final - match preview

Friday 23rd March 2018
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Dumbarton and Inverness Caledonian Thistle meet in Saturday’s IRN-BRU Cup final at McDiarmid Park, live on BBC ALBA with a 4.15pm kick-off. 

Team news: Dumbarton are without cup-tied quartet Liam Dick, Andy Stirling, Kevin Nisbet and Aidan Wilson while Inverness CT defender Brad Mckay is suspended.

Road to the final: Dumbarton beat Rangers Colts (2-1), Connah’s Quay (2-1), Stranraer (2-1) and Raith Rovers (2-0) – all at home – before coming from behind to defeat The New Saints 2-1 at Park Hall Stadium in the semi-finals.

Inverness Caley Thistle entered in the second round and saw off Aberdeen Colts 4-2 at Glebe Park. They then beat Peterhead (3-0) and Falkirk (1-0) at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. ICT were also at home in the semis and held off a fightback from Crusaders to win 3-2.

Challenge Cup pedigree: Inverness CT are appearing in their fourth final. They beat Airdrie 2-0 in 2003/04 with goals from David Bingham and Steven Hislop when John Robertson was also manager. Steve Paterson’s side lost on penalties to Alloa Athletic after a 4-4 draw in 1999/00 and Terry Butcher’s team were beaten 3-2 by Dundee in 2009/10. Dumbarton are appearing in the final of this competition for the first time. Their previous best was the quarter-finals in 2002/03.

Past meetings: This is the third meeting between the teams this season. Dumbarton won the first game 2-1 at the YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium and Inverness triumphed 1-0 at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. The sides meet in two more Ladbrokes Championship games next month.

Cup facts: This is the 27th Challenge Cup final and the 10th at McDiarmid Park. Dundee won the first tournament in 1990/91, beating Ayr United 3-2 after extra time at Fir Park thanks to a Billy Dodds hat-trick. Last season’s final attracted a crowd of 8,089 to Fir Park as Dundee United edged out St Mirren 2-1.

Current form: Inverness CT are eighth in the Ladbrokes Championship and drew 1-1 with Dundee United at Tannadice last weekend. Dumbarton are ninth in the table but go into the final boosted by back-to-back wins over bottom club Brechin City.

Stevie Aitken: “To get to a major final for the first time in 121 years is a big, big occasion for the club - we are delighted to give the supporters this opportunity. Lots of players and managers can go through a career without reaching a final so it’s a day we are very much looking forward to.”

John Robertson: “I’m pretty sure the romantics will slightly favour Dumbarton because they have not played in many finals and this current team will be desperate to take the trophy back down the road. We are equally determined – it’s not often you get a chance to get a winner’s medal."

Turnstiles: Open at 3.15pm. Fans are urged to arrive at the stadium in plenty of time as enhanced search procedures will be in operation.

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Assistant referees: David Roome and Daniel McFarlane

Fourth official: David Munro

In the event of a draw: Extra time of 30 minutes will be played and, if necessary, penalty kicks will determine the outcome.

Ladbrokes match odds: Dumbarton 27/10, Inverness CT 10/11, Draw 9/4

Match programme: A5 souvenir edition, 84 pages, priced £3

TV coverage: Exclusively live on BBC ALBA. Coverage begins at 4.00pm

Tickets: On sale from 2.30pm at the McDiarmid Park ticket office:

  • £15 for adults 
  • £10 for over 65s & students 
  • £5 for juveniles aged 13-16 
  • Free for U12s

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