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The Tenner Bet

When the Tenner Bet was just a tanner, which is increasingly starting to feel like a long time ago, there was a game we played which involved throwing coins towards a wall.

The object was to see whether it would sit upside the skirting board, or plaster board, or plywood or just about anywhere that ground met upright surface at a 90 degree angle, and the winner was the closest to the spot.

One classmate in particular had a novel approach to 'winning'. Often, he would be a fraction of a second behind his toss, travelling right behind its flight in order to help send it on its way - not unlike the skip of a curling team accompanying his stone on its voyage of destiny. Or so it seemed. My classmate had an altogether more nefarious reason for his actions for as soon as his coin smacked off the ground he was crowded around the target and claiming that his had won, scooping up the loose change like a giddy child at a wedding scramble.

I quickly established that this individual was a cheat and that playing pitch and toss against him was a futile exercise. The other lesson I learned was that it served as a metaphor for most experiences in gambling. A futile exercise, certainly, and with the necessary imagery of simply chucking money away to go with it. Beautiful and pathetic all at once.

That said, last week the Tenner Bet brought a halt to the veritable haemorrhaging that has taken place recently as a result of the failed French experiment. A good old-fashioned, stick-it-up-'em tenner on two Scottish teams sorted the real men from the slightly effete. And there will be more of the same this weekend.

THE BET

It's Scottish League Cup final day or, more accurately 'Aberdeen end their 19-year wait for a trophy day'. This columnist backed against Inverness last weekend in the Scottish Cup and was duly rewarded with a winner at 19/10. It had, at the time, utterly slipped my mind that Caley Thistle had a cup final on the horizon. That it didn't shape my thinking last weekend says much about the place where Inverness find themselves under John Hughes.

This weekend, it also says plenty about the place Aberdeen find themselves under Derek McInnes. Frankly, at 11/10 anyone who ignores Aberdeen does so at their peril. McInnes has fashioned together the next best team in the top flight with a mixture of old heads and youngsters. Pittodrie has long had a production of talented kids who have not quite been able to take the next step but it is credit to McInnes that he has managed to extract the best form of Peter Pawlett's career.

Pawlett has been touch and go for tomorrow's final because of injury but there are a number of others who could step forward should he succumb to fitness concerns. This is the bet of the weekend, irrespective of Aberdeen's misfortune in cup competitions in recent years, not least because Inverness are not the team under Hughes they were under Terry Butcher.

Down south, the Barclays Premier League is entering a critical phase. Manchester City absolutely must win away to Hull City in the early kick-off to keep in touch with Chelsea, who have suddenly opened up a lead at the top. The problem for City is that Jose Mourinho's side travel to the midlands for their annual three-point haul from Villa Park.

THE SELECTION

An Aberdeen/Man City/Chelsea treble is the pick and it comes at the attractive price of 4.11/1.

SEASON'S TOTAL

A better than 4/1 double last weekend helped to nick a chunk off the deficit and return the overall loss to a more manageable -£49.53.

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