The William Hill Scottish Cup returns to stadia across the country this weekend, with clubs from the Premiership to the junior leagues looking to carve their own piece of history in Scotland’s oldest club competition.
With the Fourth Round’s January scheduling coinciding with the winter transfer window, there will be a few new faces for Scottish football fans to cast their eyes over both on and off the field when the action gets underway on Friday night.
Indeed, the first tie of the round provides the first opportunity for fans of Scottish football to run the rule over arguably the highest-profile arrival of the window to date, as Jermain Defoe and his new Rangers team-mates – including fellow new signing Steven Davis – travel to Central Park to take on Cowdenbeath.
Getting to work... 🎯💪🏿 pic.twitter.com/KHyYHJFbBO— Jermain Defoe OBE (@IAmJermainDefoe) January 9, 2019
However, the Blue Brazil will be able to call upon their own January addition in the forwards department, with Matthew Henvey in contention to make his first start for the club since arriving on loan from Dundee.
Reigning champions Celtic will also be looking to hand debuts to their new arrivals, with Timothy Weah, Oliver Burke and Vakoun Issouf Bayo having been added to Brendan Rodgers’ squad ahead of their tie with Airdrieonians on Saturday evening.
One man who won’t be making the trip to Celtic Park with the Diamonds, though, is striker Cammy Russell. The 20-year-old striker will instead be travelling north with Lowland League title contenders East Kilbride, with the new loan signing hoping to help his team-mates overcome Inverness Caledonian Thistle – bolstered by the arrival of experienced defender Kevin McHattie – at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
Inverness’s neighbours have also been busy in the January transfer window, with Championship leaders Ross County adding talented midfielder Lewis Spence from Dundee and former Staggie Kenny van der Weg to aid their promotion push. Managers Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson will be hoping the pair will also help them when they travel to Fir Park this weekend to face a Motherwell side with renewed firepower, with Scotland international Ross McCormack and exciting young winger Gboly Ariyibi having linked up with Stephen Robinson’s squad in recent weeks.
We think you may have heard about this 👀— Motherwell FC (@MotherwellFC) January 5, 2019
Ross McCormack is back 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Da814NtP6j
Having upset Falkirk in the Third Round, Stenhousemuir will be eyeing an even bigger upset when they take on Aberdeen at Pittodrie this weekend. The Warriors will be hoping on-loan striker Russell Dingwall can help them overcome the odds against the seven-time Scottish Cup winners.
Another loan signing will be hoping to prevent goals rather than score them, with goalkeeper Conor Hazard one of four new arrivals at Firhill so far this month. The Northern Ireland international will be hoping to prevent Stranraer’s Conor O’Keefe from opening his account with the Blues, the striker having joined on loan from St Mirren until the end of the season.
Along the M8, both of Edinburgh’s Premiership sides will be hoping that their respective new arrivals hit the ground running. Hearts fans have high hopes in particular for Czech striker David Vanecek following his much-anticipated arrival at Tynecastle, with fellow new signing Conor Shaughnessy hoping to curtail the influence of Livingston’s new winger Gregg Wylde when the two sides meet on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Hibs supporters could see their first glimpse of Ryan Gauld in Neil Lennon’s starting line-up when they play host to Elgin City at Easter Road. A Scottish Cup runner-up with Dundee United in 2014, the 23-year-old midfielder will be hoping to go one better with his new team-mates this season.
💚| Ryan will wear 13 on the back of his Hibernian shirt.— Hibernian FC (@HibernianFC) January 11, 2019
⚽️He'll get his first chance to wear it against Elgin City in the @ScottishCup. Buy your tickets now and make sure he gets a warm welcome down at Easter Road.
▶️ https://t.co/s4SHZ7UZb1 pic.twitter.com/0hNlWFiJli
Gauld’s former club take on Montrose this weekend, with Robbie Neilson adding proven Scottish Cup pedigree in the form of Morgaro Gomis. The midfielder was part of the United side that lifted the trophy in 2010, the Senegalese international joining Cammy Smith in arriving at Tannadice this month.
Down the road at Dens Park, Dundee fans will be able to welcome winger Andy Dales to the club for the first time this weekend, the on-loan Scunthorpe winger joining the squad ahead of their clash with Queen of the South.
Finally, it’s not just on the pitch that has seen a January arrival. Having played in the Final with Dunfermline in 2004, Stevie Crawford take charge of his first Scottish Cup tie with the club this weekend. The opposition could not be more appropriate, with Raith Rovers – the club at which Crawford began his playing career – the hosts for a Fourth Round Fife derby.