The Scottish Cup continues apace this weekend, as the Fourth Round kicks off with a bumper Friday night feast, with three ties this evening.
The 16 competing clubs have the carrot of knowing who their potential opponents would be in the Fifth Round if they emerge victorious, with the Fifth Round ties having already been drawn due to the competition’s condensed schedule this season.
St. Mirren and Inverness get the weekend underway at 6pm this evening, in a match where the home side will go in as favourites, being unbeaten in their last four matches against Inverness.
Inverness will be hoping to upset the odds however, and as a side on form will be confident in their ability to do so, having defeated their Highland rivals Ross County in the last round. The tie’s winners have the prospect of a trip to Kilmarnock or Montrose ahead of them.
Motherwell host Greenock Morton at 7pm, with the victors set to travel to either Stranraer or Queen of the South in the subsequent round.
Motherwell will be high on confidence having thumped Formartine United 5-0 in the previous round and will be aware that the competitive record is on their side: Motherwell are unbeaten in their last 19 matches against Greenock Morton at Fir Park in all competitions (W16 D3), while Morton’s last win in Motherwell came in August 1970.
Greenock Morton needed extra time to see off East Fife in the last round and have not beaten top flight opposition in the Scottish Cup since January 2008, when they beat Gretna 3-0 at Palmerston.
Friday’s televised match sees Dundee United travel to Forfar Athletic, live on BBC Scotland at 7.45pm. This will be the first competitive meeting of Forfar Athletic and Dundee United since March 1987, when United beat the Loons 2-0 at Station Park in a Scottish Cup quarter-final, following a 2-2 draw at Tannadice.
History is against Forfar Athletic, who have only reached the Scottish Cup quarter-final five times in their history, most recently in 2001/02, while they have only ever recorded one victory over top flight opposition in the Scottish Cup – a 2-0 victory over Falkirk in 1910/11.
The action continues on Saturday, first with Kilmarnock hosting Montrose at 11.45am in the first competitive meeting of the two clubs since April 1992, when Killie won 1-0 at Rugby Park in the old Division One.
Kilmarnock are aiming to reach the Scottish Cup quarter-final for just the fifth time since they won the competition back in 1997, while Montrose are striving to reach the Scottish Cup quarter-final for the first time since 1975/76, and for just the fifth time ever.
St. Johnstone host Clyde at 5.30pm in what will be just the third time the two sides have ever met in the Scottish Cup and their first meeting since back in 1938/39, when Clyde won 2-0 at Shawfield Park.
St Johnstone have not lost a Scottish Cup tie to a team outside the top two tiers since January 2006, when they were beaten 1-0 by Gretna. Clyde are aiming to reach the Scottish Cup quarter-final for the first time since 2004/05, the only time in the last 32 years that they have made the last eight.
Saturday’s televised match also kicks off at 5.30pm, with Aberdeen v Livingston live on Premier Sports.
Although Livingston hold the advantage in Scottish Cup ties, with three victories to one, Aberdeen are unbeaten in their last 16 Scottish Cup matches at Pittodrie, their last defeat coming against Raith Rovers in February 2010.
Livingston are aiming to reach the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup for the first time since 2004/05, with a home tie against Forfar Athletic or Dundee United awaiting them should they be triumphant.
The first of two televised matches on Sunday kicks off at 12.15pm, with Stranraer hosting Hibs live on BBC One. History is very much on the side of Hibs, with Stranraer’s last Scottish Cup win over top flight opposition coming back in February 1973, when they defeated St Johnstone 2-1 at Muirton Park.
This is just the second time Stranraer and Hibernian have been drawn together in the Scottish Cup – the previous tie in 2001/02 saw Hibs win 4-0 at Easter Road after a 0-0 draw at Stair Park. It will be the tenth competitive meeting of the two sides in total, with the Blues having won just one of the previous nine, a 2-1 win at Easter Road in Division 1 in August 1998.
The action concludes at 3pm on Sunday with the eagerly-anticipated Rangers v Celtic derby bringing the weekend to a close, live on Premier Sports.
This will be the first Scottish Cup meeting of the old rivals at Ibrox since January 2011, when the sides drew 2-2 before Celtic won the replay 1-0 at Celtic Park.
Celtic have won five of their last six Scottish Cup ties against Rangers – the Light Blues’ only victory in this period came in a penalty shoot-out in the 2015/16 semi-final.
With the home side having already wrapped up their first league title in a decade, Rangers now set their sights on completing a league and Scottish Cup double for the first time since 2008/09. Celtic, however, will be determined to end the season with silverware and defend the trophy they have won for the past four consecutive seasons.
Scottish Cup Fourth Round Fixtures
Friday, 16 April
St. Mirren v Inverness Caledonian Thistle; kick-off 6pm
Motherwell v Greenock Morton; kick-off 7pm
Forfar Athletic v Dundee United; kick-off 7.45pm (live on BBC Scotland)
Saturday, 17 April
Kilmarnock v Montrose; kick-off 11.45am
St. Johnstone v Clyde; kick-off 5.30pm
Aberdeen v Livingston; kick-off 5.30pm (live on Premier Sports)
Sunday, 18 April
Stranraer v Hibernian; kick-off 12.15pm (live on BBC One)
Rangers v Celtic; kick-off 3pm (live on Premier Sports)