What do Falkirk need to reach Betfred Cup knockout stages?

Falkirk take on Dumbarton in the Betfred Cup tonight where they have an excellent chance of making it to the last 16 of the competition.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 3:04 pm
Their are a number of ways Falkirk can qualify for the last 16 but realistically then need to win at Dumbarton tonight.

In these uncertain times the prize money generated from a cup run would be a welcome financial boost for any club.

However, the rules of the competition’s group stages can make it slightly complicated to try and work out what combination of results would see which teams qualify.

We’ve tried our best to give it a go though and here is our best attempt at summing it up (SOMEWHAT) simply.

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COMPETITION RULES

The eight group winners and four best runners-up progress to the second round, where they are joined by the four clubs competing in Europe - Celtic, Rangers, Motherwell and Aberdeen.

In order to be one of the best runners up the magic points total is likely to be NINE. It is still possible that nine points might not be enough should more than four runners-up make it to that total meaning it would come down to goal difference.

It's also possible that EIGHT points could be enough which Falkirk can get if they were to draw tonight and win on penalties to secure the bonus point but that would require several other results to go there way and it is not likely to be enough.

TO WIN THE GROUP

Falkirk can still qualify as their group winners. To do so they need to beat Dumbarton tonight and for Clyde to beat Dunfermline on Saturday with their being a five goal swing in favour of Fakirk (ie Falkirk winning 3-0 and Dunfermline losing 2-0) as the Pars are currently better off on goal difference.

However, should Clyde beat Dunfermline they too would have a chance of topping the group if they also beat Kilmarnock tonight.

Going in to tonight's games Falkirk are two goals better off on Goal Difference than The Bully Wee.

TO BE A BEST PLACED RUNNER UP

Okay, this is where things get tricky and hard to explain but we will do our best.

If Falkirk win tonight AND Clyde lose then they are guaranteed to finish as at least runners up.

A win also brings them to that magic NINE point total but, as mentioned earlier, that does not guarantee they will be one of the four “best placed” runners up.

So, let’s look at some of the other groups where if at least four other runners up fail to make it to nine points then Falkirk would qualify should they win tonight…

GROUP A: If Raith and East Fife both lose or draw tonight against Hearts and ICT then none of the four teams below Hearts could make it to nine points.

GROUP B: If Dundee lose or draw BOTH their remaining fixtures (Cove at home and Hibs away) they can not make it to nine points. Group leaders Hibs already have nine points so only need a draw against the Dee on Saturday to ensure their qualification. No other team in the group can reach the likely needed total.

GROUP C: St Johnstone, Dundee United and Peterhead are all currently on six points. St Johnstone play Dundee United tonight. If Dundee United lose or draw they can not reach nine points. If they win tonight and lose or draw at Peterhead on Saturday then they cannot reach nine points. Should they draw tonight St Johnstone would be group winners unless Peterhead beat Kelty Hearts tonight and the Saints on Saturday which would give them 12 points and St Johnstone would be runners up with seven or eight points.

Group D: Elgin play Ross County and the loser will be unable to reach nine points. Arborath however will if they beat Elgin at home on Saturday. Elgin just need to win one of those two games (barring a big goal difference swing) to qualify as group winners with the runners up then unable to reach nine points.

GROUP E: Falkirk's group. As mentioned earlier they realistically HAVE to win at Dumbarton tonight to ensure they will at least be a best placed runner up. A draw and shoot out win could be enough but it's unlikely.

GROUP F: The winner of this group only needs nine points. Stranraer play Hamilton tomorrow. The loser of the match can not reach nine points and a draw would mean neither could. If Ayr win at Stranraer at the weekend they will finish on nine points.

GROUP G: Only Morton or St Mirren can make it to nine points. St Mirren need to win one of their remaining games and draw the other to reach ten points while Morton need the same to reach nine but would have to secure the bonus point by winning the shoot out should they draw. They face each other at the weekend after tonight's matches.

GROUP H: Livingston, Alloa and Airdrie can all reach nine points while Livi can still make it to 12 guaranteeing they would win their group. Livingston face Airdrie on Saturday while Alloa are at home to Stenny. The Warriors have two chances to do their rivals a favour by winning at least one of their remaining two games against Alloa and Livi.

IN SHORT

Falkirk really need to win tonight, it seems very unlikely that eight points would be enough to be a best placed runner up and it’s almost certain anything below that will not be. The best outcome for Falkirk is to top the group but a lot of things need to go their way for that to happen. Nine points SHOULD be enough to secure a best placed runner-up spot in the last 16.