Bad weather might be threatening to postpone a good chunk of the Scottish Cup fourth round fixture card this weekend, but there should still be plenty of excitement on offer.
The romance of the cup is always alive and well at the first stage when the big teams enter the fray. Highland League Fraserburgh facing off against Rangers is the tie which most captures the imagination but there are a few others which look pretty tasty.
Today, we asked Press and Journal sports editor Danny Law and reporters Paul Third, Andy Skinner and Jamie Durent for their most memorable cup upset and their top tip for an underdog triumph during the fourth round – whenever those ties may be played!
Your most memorable Scottish Cup upset
Danny Law: It wasn’t quite a giant-killing but one of the most entertaining Scottish Cup games I’ve covered was when Aberdeen junior side Culter faced Partick Thistle at Crombie Park in 2011.
Jackie McNamara’s men got off to the perfect start when Paul Cairney scored early on but Ryan Stott levelled after 19 minutes to earn a replay.
It was regarded as the best result in Culter’s 120-year history and I remember Partick were hanging on towards the end.
Unfortunately, Partick won the replay 4-0 at Firhill but it was a great effort from the North Superleague side.
Paul Third: I’m going to cheat here and pick two – one as a reporter and one as a fan.
It’s hard to believe Queen of the South’s stunning 4-3 semi-final win against Aberdeen at Hampden was 10 years ago but April 12, 2008 is a day which lives long in the memory for both clubs.
This game had everything. Abysmal defending, ex-players in Steve Tosh and John Stewart coming back to haunt their former club and seven goals inside the opening 60 minutes.
The pace of the game was incredible and it seemed as if the time passed in an instant.
The contrasting emotions in the respective teams was evident at full-time and a decade later it remains one of the most incredible cup matches I’ve seen.
As a spectator, I was at Bellslea to see Fraserburgh beat Clyde in 1997. That was remarkable for the fact not only did the Highland League club win but they did so after playing with 85 minutes with 10 men.
Ian Murray handled a goalbound shot on the line to earn himself an early bath and concede a penalty but Brian Rice struck the post with the spot kick.
The Broch broke upfield and Paul Keith scored to give the home side a priceless lead.
Thanks to some desperate defending and the heroics of goalkeeper Billy Gordon, Charlie Duncan’s side somehow survived an onslaught to stun the Bully Wee.
Andy Skinner: Cove Rangers beating Annan Athletic 2-1 in October 2009.
This was one of the first games I covered as a fresh-faced reporter, long before I learned all the bad habits that give sub-editors nightmares.
It may not stand out as being the most surprising of upsets, but it sticks out for a number of reasons.
Cove had not long since been pipped by Annan for the league place that became vacant when Gretna folded the previous year – so there was plenty intrigue ahead of this one.
Ambitious Cove were determined to prove a point but Annan looked to be well on their way to showing the league’s decision was vindicated as they took an early lead, before matters got worse for Cove when co-player-manager Kevin Tindal was sent-off.
The Aberdeen side re-emerged with vigour after the break, and used the sense of injustice to force the victory. It wasn’t pretty, but Cove used the former Allan Park – one of the main reasons their application came up short – to their advantage and came out on top after Barrie Stephen and Robbie Henderson scrambled home the decisive goals. Boy, did the Cove faithful celebrate it.
The journey ended cruelly against Stenhousemuir in the next round, as their joy at Eric Watson’s equaliser just shy of the interval was thwarted by a burst of fog which saw the game abandoned, with the score at 1-1. They returned to Ochilview seven days later and lost 5-0.
Jamie Durent: In terms of games I’ve seen, nothing beats Caley Thistle knocking out Celtic in the semi-finals en-route to winning the trophy.
No-one gave them a hope before the game and albeit with a bit of luck – Josh Meekings’ hand-ball – they earned their spot in the final. David Raven’s goal and the emotion afterwards is one of my abiding memories of that competition and as has been said by many of the players since, that, rather than the Falkirk game afterwards, was their actual final.
Your top tip for a fourth round upset
Firstly, let’s recap the fourth round draw:
Dunfermline Athletic v Greenock Morton
Ayr United v Arbroath
Albion Rovers v St Johnstone
Motherwell v Hamilton Academical
Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian
Livingston v Falkirk
Dundee v Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Formartine United v Cove Rangers
Queen of the South v Partick Thistle
Celtic v Brechin City
Peterhead v Dumbarton
East Fife v Brora Rangers
Alloa Athletic v Dundee United
Fraserburgh v Rangers
Aberdeen v St Mirren
Kilmarnock v Ross County
Danny: It won’t be played this weekend after the postponement but I really fancy Peterhead to give Championship side Dumbarton a difficult time at Balmoor. Brora Rangers could also cause an upset against Darren Young’s East Fife.
Peterhead have been scoring plenty of goals in recent weeks and, if they defend well, they have every chance of progressing.
Brora Rangers defeated Stranraer in the previous round and I wouldn’t be overly surprised to see them knock out another SPFL team and make it through to the last 16 but it will be a tough game for Ross Tokely’s men.
Paul: As a Broch loon I’d love nothing better than to see my hometown team create the biggest shock in Scottish Cup history but I cannot let my heart rule my head unfortunately.
Dumbarton will not fancy their trip in-form Peterhead, however. The Blue Toon have won eight matches in a row in all competition and swept Raith Rovers aside with ease in the last round.
Home advantage and goal threats all over the pitch give Jim McInally’s side a great chance of making it into the hat for the fifth round.
Andy: Caley Thistle at Dundee.
John Robertson claims he would not class it as an upset were Inverness to triumph.
Dundee’s Premiership status and home advantage undoubtedly makes them favourites for this tie though, and after such a poor campaign last year Inverness still have plenty to prove against top-flight opposition.
But I think Robertson’s revived side is well capable of announcing itself on the scene with a victory at Dens Park.
Caley Jags have taken big strides in recent weeks, and their free-scoring exploits of the last couple of weeks give them every right to feel good about themselves going into this tie.
Their existence may be short but Inverness have put their stamp on Scottish Cup history all right, and I fancy them to upset the odds once again.
Jamie: The two that stand out for me are East Fife v Brora Rangers and Queen of the South against Partick Thistle.
Brora showed in the last round in knocking out Stranraer that they can hang with league opposition and although they are on the road again, the goalscoring potential in Ross Tokely’s side means they have to be considered genuine contenders at New Bayview.
Partick Thistle have struggled during the first half of the season after a promising 2016-17 and will not fancy a trip to Palmerston. Gary Naysmith is quietly accumulating points and cementing Queens as genuine play-off contenders, so it would not be a surprise to see them pip the Jags.