Fourth Round weekend set for kick-off
With the Fourth Round of the William Hill Scottish Cup kicking off on Friday, there are 16 intriguing ties to look forward to. We’ll take a look at this weekend’s fixtures and delve into the numbers behind the matches.
Friday sees the all Highland League encounter of Formartine United v Cove Rangers. Formartine’s last eight Scottish Cup matches have seen an average of 4.25 goals, while Cove Rangers have won their last four ties against fellow Highland League opposition. One thing is for sure – there will be at least one Highland League team in the Fifth Round. Please note this match has been postponed, with a new date of Wednesday 31 January, kick-off 8pm.
Aberdeen enjoy a mixed record in the Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup, having progressed on 12 of their last 18 attempts. They go into this match with home advantage on their side – they have scored 11 goals in their last three Fourth Round matches at Pittodrie. This match has the potential for goals-a-plenty – St Mirren’s last five Scottish matches have an average of 4.8 goals-per-game.
Albion Rovers take on St Johnstone in their Fourth Round match. These sides have only met on two previous occasions in the Scottish Cup; St Johnstone won a 1987 replay 2-0 after a 1-1 draw in the first match. The numbers suggest that the second half of this match could be crucial; there have been nine goals scored during the second 45 minutes in Albion Rovers last three Scottish Cup matches. St Johnstone, meanwhile, go into this match with confidence on their side; they have only lost one of their last eight Fourth Round matches – that was against Kilmarnock in January 2016. Please note this match has been postponed, with a new date of Tuesday 23 January 2018, kick-off 7.45pm.
Dundee United make the trip to Alloa, as they take on Alloa Athletic. This match should provide goals, if the stats are to be believed; there have been 22 goals in Alloa’s last six Scottish Cup Fourth Round matches. Since the 2011-12 season there have been 32 goals in six Fourth Round ties involving Dundee United – they have scored 21 of those.
Ayr United v Arbroath is an intriguing tie. The Honest Men will be aiming to level things up, having lost two and won one of their league encounters with Arbroath this season. Four of Ayr United’s last seven Scottish Cup Fourth Round matches have gone to a replay, whilst Arbroath are undefeated in their last five Fourth Round away matches. Their last defeat away in the Fourth Round was in 1890.
The holders, Celtic, welcome Brechin City to Celtic Park. Having scored in 32 successive Scottish Cup matches, they will be confident of at least getting on the scoresheet. Brechin, meanwhile, have only failed to score in two of their last 15 Scottish Cup matches. The City will be hoping for a respite from their league travails in this match.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle head south on Saturday as they take on Dundee, with both teams managed by former Scotland internationals. The last time these sides met in the competition was in 2003 – Dundee emerged as 1-0 victors that day. The Dark Blues have seen eleven goals in their last three Scottish Cup matches. Inverness Caledonian Thistle have progressed beyond this stage in the competition for the last nine seasons in a row. Will it be Neil McCann or John Robertson’s men who emerge victorious this weekend?
It is an all Championship tie in Fife, as Dunfermline take on Greenock Morton. Dunfermline will be aiming for goals in this match, and the historical stats back up this aim – they have only failed to score on one occasion in their past 17 Fourth Round appearances (including replays). Morton meanwhile, will be hoping history repeats itself – they played a fellow Championship team (Falkirk) at this stage last year and emerged as 2-0 victors.
East Fife face Highland League opposition in the form of Brora Rangers. The Fifers are celebrating the 80th anniversary of lifting the trophy back in 1938. They will be hoping for more success this season. They have scored in nine of their past eleven Scottish Cup matches. Brora go into this match with nothing to fear – they have scored eleven goals in three Scottish Cup matches this season, conceding none in the process.
An all-Premiership tie takes place at Rugby Park, where Ross County take on Kilmarnock. The hosts are no strangers to tough opposition at this stage of the tournament – they have faced a team in the current SPFL Premiership in the Fourth Round for the last six seasons in a row. Owen Coyle’s men make the trip south with the knowledge that they have only failed to score once in their last eight Fourth Round appearances – they will be looking to make that once in nine on Saturday.
Livingston v Falkirk provides an interesting pairing, with neither side’s recent Fourth Round endeavours proving successful. The hosts have lost their last six Fourth Round matches, while the Bairns haven’t progressed past this stage in the competition since reaching the final in 2015. Please note this match has been postponed, with a new date of Tuesday 23 January, kick-off 7.45pm.
Motherwell host Hamilton in an enticing Lanarkshire Derby. Hamilton’s long wait for a home tie in the Fourth Round goes on – they haven’t been drawn at home since 2011. Motherwell go into this match with new signing Nadir Ciftci potentially leading the line for the Fir Park side. Six of their last eight Scottish Cup matches have been decided by a one-goal margin – can Ciftci make a difference? Or could we be in for a tight game on Saturday?
Peterhead have this season’s top scorer, Rory McAllister, in their side – he’s scored an incredible seven goals in just two games. He’ll be hoping to make the difference as they take on Dumbarton. Eight of the Sons’ last ten Scottish Cup matches have been decided by a one-goal margin – an encouraging statistic for a side looking to keep McAllister at bay. Please note this match has been postponed, with a new date of Tuesday 23 January, kick-off 7.45pm.
Partick Thistle look to book their place in the Fifth Round with a trip to Queen of the South. These sides last met in the competition back in 2012 – on that occasion it was the Doonhamers who emerged as 1-0 victors; they will be hoping to repeat that feat. 13 out of Thistle’s last 16 Scottish Cup matches have been decided by a one-goal margin or ended in a draw – will Alan Archibald’s men see this as a chance to wrack up some goals?
On Sunday, Rangers make the trip north to take on Fraserburgh. The Broch welcome the Gers to Bellsea Park with a strong home record – they haven’t lost a home match in the Scottish Cup in ten games. Rangers themselves have not lost in ten Fourth Round matches – only conceding five goals in the process. The Scottish Cup trophy took a boat trip around Fraserburgh harbour earlier in the week – but which side will be sailing into the Fifth Round on Sunday afternoon? Please note this match has been postponed, with a new date of Wednesday 31 January, kick-off 7.45pm.
Heart of Midlothian take on Hibernian on Sunday, in what will be the first Scottish Cup match in front of the new stand at Tynecastle Park. Gorgie will also play host to the Fifth Round draw which will take place following the conclusion of the match, with guests Amy Macdonald and David Weir making the draw. Craig Levein will take his place in the dugout, in what will be his first Scottish Cup match as Hearts manager since February 2004. Hibs, meanwhile, will be looking to add to the 16 goals they have scored since winning the competition in 2016.
You can keep abreast of all the goals, news and features across the Fourth Round weekend on the Scottish Cup Twitter page, @ScottishCup.
You can view all Fourth Round information, including postponements and replay dates HERE.