RANGERS face playing their William Hill Scottish Cup clash at Tannadice with a much-diminished away backing after one of their main supporters groups called for an organised boycott.
The Ibrox side were paired with Dundee United in the fifth round draw, the first time they have been drawn away against SPL opposition since they were relaunched as a new company and denied entry to the top flight.
Rangers, who were knocked out of the competition by
United twice in the three years before they were consigned to liquidation, have fallen to Second Division Queen of the South and Inverness in the other cup competitions this season, but did beat Motherwell 2-0 in the Scottish Communities League Cup.
The Rangers Supporters Assembly urged fans on Monday night to participate in a “full boycott”.
A statement from the group read: “The Rangers support has waited patiently for the opportunity to send a clear message to those that tried to destroy our club – starve them of their much-needed cash by boycotting this game. It must also be remembered the disregard this club had for Rangers supporters when it unashamedly refused to offer refunds to supporters for a game abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch in 2009.
“We also understand the desire to support the team – the fans have demonstrated this to unbelievable lengths of loyalty – but we ask that on this occasion in a one-off display of fan power we show that we have not been beaten or broken.”
Celtic will also face old cup foes in the form of Raith Rovers, who beat them in the 1994-95 League Cup final, should they get past Arbroath in a replay.
Raith midfielder Simon Mensing, who played in a 4-1 Parkhead defeat in the League Cup in September, said: “If Celtic were to progress it’s massive for the club. It’s a home game too.
“We put on a decent performance at Parkhead so hopefully we can take the positives out of that. We got a goal and passed the ball about a bit. We have a decent record at home and can hopefully show what we can do.
“When I was at Hamilton we drew with Celtic at New
Douglas Park. When you are playing Celtic, you seem to fare better at home rather than away.”
Celtic will first have to negotiate a trip to the North Sea coast on December 12 after being held by Arbroath on Saturday.
Arbroath goalkeeper Scott Morrison said: “Gayfield is horrible for an away team. Sometimes it’s not the best for the home team either. The boys were really buzzing after Saturday, especially being at Parkhead, in those surroundings, and getting a result.
“You never know – Gayfield can pose its own problems. The wind and rain can be awkward for everybody.
“We’ll take them up there and see how they get on with the crowd on their backs. Hopefully we can get a result.”
Hibernian’s reward for their derby win over holders Hearts is another home tie against SPL opposition in the form of Aberdeen or Motherwell, who drew 1-1 at Pittodrie on Saturday.
Another top-flight tie will see Kilmarnock host the winners of the Highland derby replay between Inverness and Ross County. St Mirren are at home again following their win over Brechin. They face the winners of the rearranged clash between Cowdenbeath and St Johnstone, which was due to be played tonight but has been postponed for a second time and has now been scheduled for Monday.
Dundee are at home against Turriff United or Morton. The Highland League side held Allan Moore’s team to a 1-1 home draw on Saturday.
Dunfermline are at home to the winners of the postponed clash between Dumbarton and Hamilton (also rescheduled for Monday), while Falkirk will host Forfar.
The ties will be played on the weekend of 2 and 3 February.
The tournament sponsors reacted to the draw by making Celtic odds-on favourites at 4-5.
Second in the betting are Dundee United at 7-1, with Rangers now pushed out to 12-1 after being handed their tough tie at Tannadice. Hibs, who also face a difficult last-16 tie against SPL opposition, are joint third favourites with Ally McCoist’s side at 12-1. Motherwell and Aberdeen, who will fight it out in their replay next week for the right to play Hibs at Easter Road, are 14-1 and 16-1 respectively, with Kilmarnock 16-1, Inverness and St Johnstone 20-1 and St Mirren 25-1. The other two SPL sides still in the draw, Dundee and Ross County are 33-1 and 50-1 respectively.
Despite their heroics at Celtic Park on Saturday, Arbroath remain rank outsiders at 1,000-1, the same price as Turriff United.
SCOTTISH CUP FIFTH ROUND DRAW IN FULL
Dundee v Turriff Utd v Morton
Kilmarnock v Ross County or Inverness
Hibs v Aberdeen or Motherwell
Falkirk v Forfar
Dundee Utd v Rangers
Raith Rovers v Celtic or Arbroath
St Mirren v Cowdenbeath or St Johnstone
Dunfermline v Dumbarton or Hamilton
All ties to be played on Saturday 2 February