Ladbrokes SPFL: Hibernian goal machine will prove too hot for Raith

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The regular season may be over in the Ladbrokes SPFL, but the drama keeps unfolding, with the play-offs in full swing.

Hibernian may have just fallen short of knocking Falkirk from second spot in the Ladbrokes Championship, but the Scottish Cup finalists head to Kirkcaldy on the back of four wins from five games.

Livingston, meanwhile, are trying to avoid exiting the Championship at the other end, as they face League One Stranraer. And Queen’s Park welcome Cowdenbeath, with the Spiders hopeful of a return to the third-tier after seven years away.

So, without further ado, here’s our preview of tonight’s three crunch clashes.

Raith Rovers v Hibernian (Ladbrokes Premiership Play-off Quarter Final, First Leg, 19:45)

Ray McKinnon’s Rovers have been the Championship’s surprise package this year, with the fourth-placed Fife club racking up 62 points, the highest total since they returned to this level in 2009.

But despite Raith’s marked improvement, Hibs are set to prove too tough a challenge. The Edinburgh outfit have won four of the last five meetings, with Jason Cummings their tormentor-in-chief, scoring the winner in three of those games.

And, with the likes of James Keatings and Anthony Stokes also in top form, they look set to prove too strong tonight and over both legs.

That’s reflected in the odds, with Hibs 7/10 to win tonight, with 13/4 for Rovers and a draw just a touch longer (14/5).

The best value looks to be on Cummings to score last at 7/2, with the 20-year-old keen to continue his run of memorable winners against Rovers.

Score Prediction: Raith Rovers 1-3 Hibernian (11/1)

Stranraer v Livingston (Ladbrokes Championship Play-off Semi Final, First Leg, 19:45)

It’s been a difficult season for the Livi Lions, but April’s 1-0 victory over Rangers showed what David Hopkin’s men are capable of. They face a stern test tonight, though, with the Blues having won five home games on the bounce.

The hosts have achieved that feat in spectacular fashion. They put four past champions Dunfermline and Airdrieonians here in April, and with Livi having failed to keep a clean sheet on the road since October 2015, expect the home side to score – and probably to sneak a win tonight.

A Stranraer win appears to represent the best value at 23/10, while Livi are 20/21 for victory and 13/5 for honours even.

Score Prediction: Stranraer 3-2 Livingston (33/1)

Queen’s Park v Cowdenbeath (Ladbrokes League One Play-off Semi Final, First Leg, 19:45)

While heading to Hampden Park for a semi-final is generally a dream for fans of League One clubs, not so for Cowdenbeath tonight.

The Blue Brazil are bidding to avoid a second successive relegation, as they head into the play-off semi-finals. However, with just one defeat in their last four away trips – conceding just twice in the process – Cowden head to the capital following a decent showing in April.

However, their hosts boast League Two’s tightest defence and possess a decent goalscorer in the experienced Paul Woods. That said, with the Fife outfit finally finding some form and fixing their leaky defence, expect Cowden to sneak it in what looks like being a very tight 90 minutes of football.

The best bet appears to be a Cowden win at 2/1, while those who think the Spiders will move a step closer to promotion can back the hosts at 11/10.

Score Prediction: Queen’s Park 0-1 Cowdenbeath (9/1)

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.