Scottish Cup third round: Where the magic really happens as Drumchapel United and co bid to make history

When people talk about the romance of the Scottish Cup, they are not referring to the latter stages of the competition or even the final itself.

The Scottish Cup third round takes place this weekend. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
The Scottish Cup third round takes place this weekend. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

No, it is the early rounds of the competition where the true charm is to be found as provincial town and village clubs step into the limelight and rub shoulders with the glitterati of the SPFL. Saturday afternoon’s third round ties feature a number of aspirational sides from further down the pyramid who will fancy their chances of causing an upset.

Ayrshire side Auchinleck Talbot are no strangers to a cup shock having knocked out Championship opposition in two of the last three years in the shape of Hamilton Accies and Ayr United. A trip to Raith Rovers offers the West of Scotland Premier Division side the chance to make it a hat-trick with a large travelling support expected to make the journey to Kirkcaldy.

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A historic tie takes place at Lochburn Park, Maryhill where Drumchapel United take on SPFL opposition for the first time as they look to extend their debut run in the Scottish Cup against League One FC Edinburgh. The Drum, who feature ex-Rangers and Hearts winger David Templeton among their ranks, already know what it's like to go all the way to Hampden, having lifted the Scottish Amateur Cup at the national stadium in 2007.

East Kilbride enjoyed their own fairytale Scottish Cup adventure in 2016, reaching the last 16, where they faced Celtic in their biggest game to date, going down 2-0. A trip to Hamilton is the hurdle to overcome if they are to get another potential crack at Premiership opposition.

University of Stirling are bidding to reach the fourth round for the first time but will need to get past an Albion Rovers side who have have won all three of their previous Scottish Cup meetings against Lowland League opposition.

Cove Rangers will be taking nothing for granted against a Dunipace side from the East of Scotland First Division who are the lowest ranked side remaining in the competition.

The Highland League is represented by Fraserburgh, Formartine United and Wick Academy, and they have all been given home ties against Arbroath, Stenhousemuir and Falkirk respectively. None of the three SPFL sides will be relishing their trips north.

Elsewhere, Montrose host a Darvel side aiming to reach the fourth round for the second consecutive season, having done so in their debut in the competition last year.

Hill of Beath Hawthorn have already made history by reaching the third round for the first time and will bid to go one stage further when they host Elgin City at Keirs Park. Meanwhile, the tie between Linlithgow Rose and Sauchie Juniors will ensure East of Scotland Premier Division representation in the fourth round.

There are seven all-SPFL clashes, six of which feature a home side against lower league opposition, namely Dundee v Airdrieonians, Partick v Kelty Hearts, Dunfermline v Forfar, Morton v Queen of the South, Inverness v Stirling Albion, and Clyde v Dumbarton. The exception is Queen's Park who make the journey up to Peterhead.

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The fourth round draw will take place live on BBC Scotland after Ayr United's match against Pollok on Monday.

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