With the Fifth Round of the William Hill Scottish Cup kicking off on Saturday, there are eight tantalising ties to look forward to. We’ve taken a look at this weekend’s fixtures and delved into the numbers behind the matches.
All eyes will be on Pittodrie at around 6pm on Sunday when the draw for the Sixth Round takes place – with Scotland Women’s National Team captain Rachel Corsie and former Aberdeen and Scotland centre-back Russell Anderson doing the honours. But before that there’s the small matter of the on-form Dons going toe to toe with Dundee United. The two haven’t faced off in the Scottish Cup since January 2006, when Aberdeen ran out 3-2 winners. This is only Aberdeen’s first Fifth Round fixture on home turf since 2012, and six of their last eight meetings at this stage have been decided by a single-goal margin. Despite dropping to the Championship, United still boast an enviable Scottish Cup Fifth Round record, having not lost a tie at this point since 2009. In fact, their robust defences along the way have ensured they’ve only conceded five goals in their last 10 Fifth Round matches. Something will have to give on Sunday.
League One promotion hopefuls Ayr United have scored 10 goals in just two games in this season’s Scottish Cup competition, but three of their last five Fifth Round matches (including replays) have been decided by a sole goal. Similarly, Rangers’ last three Fifth Round ties were settled by a one-goal margin. Josh Windass will still be on a high from hitting a hat-trick in the last round against Fraserburgh earlier this month. It’s the third season in a row that a Rangers players has scored a Scottish Cup hat-trick, as Windass followed in the footsteps of former Light Blues pair Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner.
Holders Celtic have made light work of this stage of the competition in recent years, having scored 10 goals without conceding in their last three Fifth Round run-outs. They’re progressed in nine of their past 10 Fifth Round appearances. Opponents Partick Thistle also enjoy a good recent record at this point, having progressed from four of their last five Fifth Round fixtures.
Expect goals at Dens Park as Dundee host Motherwell. Neil McCann’s Dark Blues have netted five goals in two of their last four Fifth Round matches – against Dumbarton last season and Greenock Morton in season 2012-13. The Steelmen have been just as prolific. The last time they failed to score in a Scottish Cup match was back in 2013.
There’s an intriguing meeting of Cove Rangers and Falkirk. The Highlanders – who are unbeaten so far in the league this season – are aiming to become only the second Highland League side to reach the Sixth Round of the Scottish Cup. The Bairns, though, usually bring their shooting boots, having scored six goals in their last two Fifth Round matches. The side, now bossed by Paul Hartley, have successfully progressed past the Fifth Round on three of their past four attempts.
The last time Greenock Morton and Dumbarton met in the Scottish Cup was back in 2010 when Morton emerged as 2-1 winners. More often than not Jim Duffy’s men are an entertaining proposition, with their last five Fifth Round matches averaging 5.2 goals per game. Nine of dogged Dumbarton’s last 11 Scottish Cup matches have been decided by a one-goal margin.
Heart of Midlothian supporters will just be glad of a bit of variety. This is the first season since 2011-12 that they haven’t faced city rivals Hibernian in the Fifth Round. The Jambos are nothing if not determined, with their last three Fifth Round ties having gone to replays. The men from Edinburgh have happy memories of playing St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup. The last time they did was in 2012, when they went all the way to clinch the famous trophy after seeing off Saints along the way. The Perth outfit, meanwhile, haven’t progressed beyond the Fifth Round since they famously won the competition in 2014.
Kilmarnock have grown used to pitting their wits against Inverness Caledonian Thistle at this point in the Scottish Cup – with three of their last five Fifth Round appearances having come against the Championship outfit. This time, however, Brora Rangers provide the opposition. One of this year’s success stories, they’ve still to concede in this season’s competition.
You can keep abreast of all the goals, news and features across the Fifth Round weekend on the Scottish Cup Twitter page, @ScottishCup.