This weekend the Third Round of the William Hill Scottish Cup will kick into action with 16 tantalising ties taking place across Scotland.
Thirty two teams will be fighting it out for a place in the Fourth Round.
Here, we preview each match by delving a little deeper into some of the numbers behind the fixtures.
Kicking our preview off is Airdrieonians v Cove Rangers. The hosts will be looking to buck a run of poor form in the Scottish Cup – they have one win in their past six Scottish Cup games, having only scored five goals in those matches. Cove, on the other hand, have an impressive goalscoring record in the competition, with an average of four goals per-game over the course of their last 16 matches.
Arbroath take on Berwick Rangers on Saturday. The hosts go into this match with a good scoring record at this stage of the competition – they’ve scored in six out of their previous eight Third Round matches (including replays). Berwick Rangers have progressed to the Fourth Round from their last two Third Round appearances and boast an impressive scoring record; they have only failed to score on one occasion from their past 17 Scottish Cup matches.
Ayr United make the trip north to take on Banks O’Dee. This is the first time that Banks O’Dee have reached this stage of the competition – they also boast a good scoring record in the Scottish Cup having scored in all of their last ten games. The Honest Men will go into this match full of confidence – they have progressed past the Third Round in seven of their last nine attempts and sit at the summit of League One following a midweek win over Raith Rovers.
Buckie Thistle welcome Brechin City to Victoria Park for their Third Round clash. Buckie will be aiming to see the end of an unwelcome statistic – they have only made the Fourth Round once since 1957; that was in 2011. They have, however, beaten Brechin already this season, defeating them 2-1 in the Irn Bru Cup. Bechin have only failed to score twice in their last 14 Scottish Cup ties.
Clyde host East Fife at Broadwood. New manager Danny Lennon will be buoyed by the fact his side have scored at least one goal in their last nine Scottish Cup matches played at home. The Fifers have scored in each of their past six Third Round ties played away from home. They will be looking for a result in this, the 80th anniversary of their Scottish Cup winning season.
Elgin City head south as they take on Dumbarton. The Son’s of the Rock have only progressed in three of their last nine Third Round appearances – they’ll be looking to improve that record on Saturday. We could be in for a goalfest on Saturday; Elgin City have, since 2003, an average of more than four goals per-game in the Scottish Cup.
East Kilbride take on Albion Rovers in our next Third Round tie. East Kilbride boast an enviable goalscoring record at the Third Round stage; they have only failed to score on one occasion in their last 13 Scottish Cup matches. Albion Rovers, who have made the Fourth Round in three of the past four seasons, have an away fixture for the first time in five Scottish Cup matches.
Formartine United host Forfar Athletic. The prospect of a visit to North Lodge Park is daunting for the visitors; Formartine have only been defeated once in nine Scottish Cup matches there. This stat combined with the fact that Forfar haven’t won any of their past five away games in the competition makes for an intriguing tie.
In their debut Scottish Cup season Glenafton visit Livingston. Livi have played junior opposition once before in the Scottish Cup – that was a 6-0 win against Irvine Meadow in 2011, also in the Third Round. Glenafton, however, have yet to concede in this season’s competition. This coupled with the fact that Livingston have only kept one clean sheet in their past 16 Scottish Cup games makes Saturday’s clash all the more enticing.
One of this weekend’s most intriguing ties is the clash between Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale and Championship leaders, St Mirren. Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale have only experienced defeat once in five Scottish Cup matches played at home. St Mirren have only failed to score once in 13 Scottish Cup games. Their last four Third Round appearances have resulted in making the Sixth Round in each of those seasons. Will there be a Scottish Cup upset on the cards in Edinburgh this weekend?
Last rounds featured match hosts, Montrose, welcome Queen of the South to Links Park. Montrose have not kept a clean sheet in their last ten Scottish Cup home matches, a statistic they will be looking to end this weekend. Queen of the South have only been defeated once by Montrose in their last seven meetings in the Scottish Cup – a 2-1 loss in 1948. Gary Naysmith’s side have lost their last five Scottish Cup matches played away from home – they will be aiming to correct that on Saturday.
Peterhead welcome Raith Rovers north for their match. The hosts’ 9-0 win over Colville Park was their first win in seven Scottish Cup matches. They have only won four of their last 15 Scottish Cup matches played at home, so Raith may see this as a good opportunity to progress, if the stats are to be believed. Raith Rovers, however, haven’t kept a clean sheet in six Scottish Cup games, though they are undefeated in their last five Third Round matches.
Hampden will play host to Queen’s Park v Dunfermline. Queen’s Park have only failed to score once in 14 Scottish Cup matches played at home (a 4-0 defeat to Stranraer in 2012). Their opponents, Dunfermline, have won their past four Third Round matches, scoring 15 goals in the process. This is their fifth away draw in the Third Round in a row.
Fraserburgh will head to Edinburgh as they take on Spartans. Spartans are undefeated in their last seven Scottish Cup home matches – this includes wins over Morton and Clyde. They have yet to concede a goal in the Scottish Cup this season. Fraserburgh come fresh off the back of keeping their first clean sheet in 12 Scottish Cup matches – can they keep up the positive momentum this weekend?
It’s the fourth Scottish Cup home draw in a row for Stenhousemuir as they take on Alloa. The hosts are aiming to make the Fourth Round for the second season in a row. Alloa, meanwhile, have kept a clean sheet in four of their last five Scottish Cup wins and have only lost two of their previous seven meetings with Stenny in the Scottish Cup.
This weekend’s featured match is Stranraer against Brora Rangers. With the Scottish Cup trophy in attendance, this is sure to be a feisty encounter. Stranraer have made the Fourth Round in each of the past five seasons, though they have only kept one clean sheet in their last 15 Scottish Cup matches. Brora are the top goalscorers in this season’s competition with ten goals – in addition to this they have also yet to concede.