Darvel Dare to Dream Against Dons

With a population of just 3,900 and just six miles from Moscow (the Ayrshire one!), Darvel is the epitome of a small town you’d drive through on the way to get somewhere else. But tonight the spotlight falls on the artifical pitch at Recreation Park where seven-time-winners of the Scottish Cup, Aberdeen, are the illustrious visitors.

Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace has links to the area and the team from the sixth tier of Scottish football will need to invoke some Braveheart spirit if they’re to earn their place in the fifth round of the competition at around 16/1.

Bankrolled by pie entrpreneur, John Gall (owner of Brownings Bakers, the home of the famous Killie Pie) the Darvel squad is littered with players who have played much further up the football pyramid, defender Ross Perry for example, made 33 appearances for Rangers and fellow stopper Jason Marr started his career at Celtic. Others have played for the likes of Kilmarnock, St Mirren, Hibernian and Motherwell so there’s plenty of experience in their ranks.

En route to the fourth round they’ve swotted away all in front of them winning 8-0, 7-1 and disposing of League Two side Montrose 5-2 in their own back yard. The Vale are also top of the West of Scotland Football League Premier Division and recently put eight past East Kilbride who ply their trade a division above them.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a trip for the faint-hearted – nor for a team low in confidence.

Step forward Aberdeen! Just two away wins in the last 12 months and off the back a 5-0 hammering at Tynecastle Jim Goodwin’s men will be making the 340-mile round trip with some trepidation. The Dons have won just once since returning from the World Cup break and their 37 league goals conceded means they’ve the joint-second worst defence in the top flight.

This looks such a huge banana-skin for Aberdeen it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Man from Del Monte makes an appearance. It would take a mad man to be backing the visitors at such as hort price of 1/16 tonight. The value sits with the hosts. You can get over even money on the Asian Handicap on Darvel +2.5 which means they’d need to lose by three of more for the bet to lose. Given their recent goalscoring exploits however a Darvel goal makes most appeal at 2/1.

Worlds apart is the London Derby, on the banks of the Thames, where Fulham welcome Tottenham to Craven Cottage.

The hosts have the chance to overtake Spurs in the table and move in to fifth and they’re 9/4 to do so. That looks a better bet than the 11/10 on Spurs who come in to the game off the back of two defeats, albeit to Man City and Arsenal, but it’s now seven losses in their last 13 Premier League matches.

Spurs have been guilty of conceding the first goal this season, they’ve done so 17 times this season. It’s 5/4 that Fulham net first tonight.

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