A big weekend of football lies in store around the country, with the William Hill Scottish Cup third round throwing up some tantalising fixtures for fans of Scottish football.
With the possibility of taking on one of the nation’s biggest clubs in the next stage, teams from across Scotland will be looking to book their place in Saturday night’s fourth-round draw.
Amongst them will be the University of Stirling, who will run out at Forthbank this weekend for their first-ever third round tie in the competition. They face League Two side Elgin City, who were narrowly edged out by Dumbarton at this stage last season.
Also looking to progress to the fourth round for the first time will be Gala Fairydean Rovers, who travel to K-Park to take on East Kilbride. The hosts have only failed to score once in their last 15 matches in the competition, however, serving as a warning for the visiting defence.
The third round’s featured match could prove to be one of the games of the weekend, as Championship leaders Ayr United travel to Beith Juniors in Saturday’s early kick-off. Supporters at Bellsdale Park could be in for a feast of attacking football; matches involving Ayr in last season’s Scottish Cup saw an average of over six goals a game, whilst Beith have only failed to score once in their last nine Scottish Cup main draw fixtures.
This weekend's Third Round featured match is @BeithJuniorsFC v @AyrUnitedFC— William Hill Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) November 21, 2018
Last week players from both teams went along to Beith Primary School to get the kids in a Scottish Cup mood!
Thanks to @BeithJuniorsFC for the video. pic.twitter.com/MY6qQ0l4M7
Another fascinating tie comes at Ainslie Park, in the third round’s only Sunday fixture. League Two leaders Edinburgh City welcome 2015 Scottish Cup winners Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who currently find themselves in the midst of a 25-game unbeaten run in the Championship, for what has the potential to be a thrilling encounter.
The top scorers in the 2018/19 edition of the Scottish Cup are currently Brora Rangers, with the Highland League outfit looking to continue their strong showing thus far as they travel to Cowdenbeath. The ‘Blue Brazil’, however, will be stern opponents for their visitors, having only lost once to Highland League opposition in eight previous meetings.
Meanwhile, Stranraer will be looking to reach the fourth round for the sixth time in seven seasons when they travel to Gayfield Park to take on League One leaders Arbroath, whilst Berwick Rangers will be the opponents for East Fife’s 225th match in the Scottish Cup on Saturday afternoon.
The Indodrill Stadium will be the venue for Alloa’s defence of a proud recent record in the competition, with the Wasps having only lost one of their previous five third round ties. The Championship side welcome Brechin City on Saturday, who themselves will be looking to make it through for the 10th time in 12 seasons.
Alongside Beith, Auchinleck Talbot find themselves as the last team standing from the preliminary qualifying round. Their reward is a trip to the north-east to take on Highland League high-flyers Fraserburgh at Bellslea Park, with the men from the Broch looking for a repeat of last year’s performance in the Scottish Cup, which saw them meet Rangers in the fourth round.
Elsewhere, Airdrieonians host Dumbarton in what will be their sixth home tie in a row in the competition, whilst a local derby lies in store at Ochilview as Championship bottom side Falkirk travel to Stenhousemuir.
Having taken out higher-ranked opposition in the form of Albion Rovers in round two, Formartine United will be hoping to repeat the trick when they make the long trip down to face Queen of the South. The Aberdeenshire side will have to keep a close eye on Queen of the South skipper Stephen Dobbie, however, with the veteran striker having already bagged 26 goals in all competitions this season.
BSC Glasgow, meanwhile, will be looking to claim a significant victory over higher-ranked opponents when they take on Forfar this weekend, with Annan looking to do likewise on their trip to face Montrose at Links Park.
🏆 @CuptieDMackay and @JoshTaylorBoxer will be making the draw for the Fourth Round of the @WilliamHill Scottish Cup at 5.45pm on Saturday afternoon, following the conclusion of Saturday's Third Round ties.— William Hill Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) November 22, 2018
You can watch it live right here on @ScottishCup.#ScottishCup pic.twitter.com/7aSeUbNi5b
League Two leaders Peterhead will be looking to make a statement themselves this weekend, with the north-east side drawn to face Greenock Morton at Cappielow. Both sides will have fond memories of the 2017/18 competition; Peterhead’s Rory McAllister finished as the competition’s top scorer, whilst their opponents on Saturday enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals, with only eventual champions Celtic ending their journey.
Finally, Queen’s Park will look to bounce back from their Irn-Bru Cup quarter-final defeat last weekend when they welcome Raith Rovers to Hampden Park. The visitors are enjoying a fine season themselves, as they currently sit second in League Two.
For full updates from across all of this weekend’s fixtures, follow @Scottish Cup on Twitter. A full list of the third round matches, as well as dates for potential replays and postponements, can be found here.
The draw for the Fourth Round will take place following Saturday's matches at 5.45pm. You can watch it live on the Scottish FA’s official channels: