DUMBARTON player/manager Ian Murray knows the personal characteristics of his squad well and he is hopeful that he will get to know them as players at the seventh time of asking against Hamilton Accies tonight.
Murray has not yet taken his side into battle as this fourth-round William Hill Scottish Cup tie has been called off four times, while a league match at New Douglas Park was also postponed, as was a meeting with Livingston.
Dunfermline at East End Park is the prize for this evening’s winners, and Murray said: “You need to see players play before you understand their strengths and weaknesses. We are at home against a team in our league so we have a good chance.”
Goalkeeper Stephen Grindlay is free of suspension, but Murray, Kevin Nicol and Pat Walker remain out injured and James Creaney is a doubt.
Hamilton will recast their side as Gary Fisher and Steven May have been refused permission to play by Kilmarnock and St Johnstone respectively, and Jonathan Page is suspended.
Injuries rule out Ryan Finnie, Stephen Hendrie, Jon McShane and Kieran Millar, but manager Billy Reid was upbeat, saying: “I have players who are desperate to show what they can do.”
Cowdenbeath came out of a three- week cold storage period on Saturday when they lost 2-0 at Falkirk and player/manager Colin Cameron is hoping that the chance to defeat St Johnstone in their fourth-round match will re-energise his side.
Cameron said: “It is not ideal to play so soon afterwards but last season the boys shone against Hibs in the Cup and lost unluckily 3-2. Hopefully the chance to shine again will give them fresh legs.”
The injured Scott Linton, Liam Cusack and Greg Stewart miss out, with Albert Puigdollers also absent as he looks set to leave the club. St Johnstone welcome Steven Anderson, Dave McKay, Fraser Wright and Chris Millar back from suspension, but David Robertson remains out and the on-loan Peter Pawlett will not be considered.
Despite his squad being bolstered and a battling performance for a makeshift side in the 2-2 draw with Hearts on Saturday, Lomas is giving Cowdenbeath full respect. “The pitch is narrow and will suit them more than us,” he said. “Arbroath gave Celtic a good game and Cowdenbeath are in a higher league so we need to be at our best.”
Morton players have been told that they will see off Turriff United in their fourth-round replay tonight and secure an away tie with Dundee if they play like they did in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Airdrie. Manager Allan Moore said: “We created lots of chances and kept a clean sheet. If we repeat that we will be too strong for Turriff.”
Kevin Rutkiewicz looks set to join Steven Stirling and Kyle Wilkie on the side-lines through injury, but Craig Reid is available after a two-game ban.
Turriff are looking to extend their first season in the Scottish Cup, but co-manager Mark Simpson knows a supreme effort will be needed to get them there. He said: “The players will need to put the same level of effort and possibly even more than we did to get the draw. It would be a real Christmas fairytale to keep our cup run going.”