Scottish Cup: From Banks O' Dee to Bonnyrigg - the clubs beneath the SPFL hoping to cause third round upsets

Forty teams, 20 ties and a hint of romance in the air can only mean one thing. Scottish Cup weekend.

The Scottish Cup third round will see 20 ties take place this weekend. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Always an eagerly-anticipated date in the calendar, the third round is a big occasion for clubs beneath the senior leagues who have made it this far, and dreaming of make it further still, with the prospect of Premiership opposition in the fourth round.

While Championship and League One sides enter for the first time, for one club, the journey started as far back as August.

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Banks O' Dee, from the SJFA North Superleague, are the only surviving side from the Preliminary Round having overcame Linlithgow Rose, Turiff United and Nairn County.

Their reward is a home tie at Spain Park, Aberdeen against East Fife, who are currently managerless after parting ways with Darren Young during the week with the Methil side rooted to the bottom of League One.

Another special occasion takes place at Holm Park where a sell-out crowd of 1200 will watch Clydebank host Clyde. The Bankies shocked Elgin City in the previous round, winning a replay at Borough Briggs after drawing at home.

The BBC Scotland cameras head to Glebe Park on Monday where Highland League Brechin City host West of Scotland Premier Division outfit Darvel, who are enjoying a first-ever Scottish Cup run to remember.

The third round kicks off on Friday night when Partick Thistle host Dunfermline in a tasty all-Championship affair, the match having been moved from Saturday due to the clash with Queen's Park v Kilmarnock, which is also being played at Firhill due to The Spiders renting the ground while work continues on their new home at Lesser Hampden.

One club always worth keeping an eye on during Scottish Cup weekend is Bonnyrigg Rose. Robbie Horn's side came within a whisker of causing one of the competition's biggest shocks last season as Dundee required an injury-time equaliser at Dens Park before prevailing after extra-time.

The Lowland League side face a trip to Alloa Athletic in the third round and few would bet against them giving Barry Ferguson's men a run for their money.

Auchinleck Talbot have previous for knocking out Championship opposition having beaten Ayr United enroute to the fifth round in 2018-19, so Hamilton Accies will be wary of their trip Beechwood Park.

Other non-SPFL clubs hoping to cause an upset include Civil Service Strollers, who host Peterhead, Sauchie Juniors, who travel to Dumbarton, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, who welcome Edinburgh City, Gala Fairydean Rovers, who entertain Annan Athletic, and Tranent, who face a trip to Stirling Albion.

There is guaranteed to be at least one club from the pyramid system in the fourth round draw as Lowland League duo Dalbeattie Star and East Kilbride go head-to-head at Islecroft Stadium.

A potential grudge tie awaits at Falkirk Stadium where Raith Rovers face the side they pipped to the League One title in the Covid-curtailed 2019-20 season. The Bairns felt aggrieved having been one point behind when the season was declared, and Raith midfielder Ross Matthews rubbed it in posting an image of himself on social media drinking "Falkirk tears" in the aftermath.

Other ties include Arbroath v Forfar, Ayr v Albion Rovers, Cove Rangers v Queen of the South, Inverness CT v Morton, Kelty Hearts v Montrose and Stenhousemuir v Airdrieonians.

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