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Scottish Cup Third Round Preview – Saturday 3rd November 2012

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[media-credit name=”Pic: Phil McCloy” align=”alignleft” width=”184″][/media-credit]It’s possibly the only time that cup games in any season are all played on the same day but here it is! No SFL league games on as the 3rd Round of the Cup has 20 SFL clubs in cup action. For some it comes as a welcome opportunity to bring out the young or leave bitterly disappointing league form behind with the hope that facing lesser opposition will boost confidence and give them the opportunity of a decent cup draw in the next round. Club treasurers are rubbing their hands in hope!

Once again I have grouped the games into three categories. In the hope that my ability to predict is superseded by my spotting of a decent game to attend this should be the time we see better attendances at EVERY ground. This season has, once again brought some cracking games – Brechin and Partick each scoring 7 for example in October! It’s nice to see one of them big London clubs trying to look like an SFL side midweek…

Cup shock anyone?

Like a well prepared cocktail, a cup shock needs careful preparation, build up and the combination of part-time lowly footballers playing like heroes and professionals playing like fuds; there are more than a couple of potential banana skins about for this weekend. Cowdenbeath v Vale of Leithen is one as Colin Cameron’s team have been misfiring of late. October was not a good month for them and an early cup exit could be on the cards. It could be earlier exit than anyone else – the tie kicks off at 2pm!  Albion Rovers v Greenock Morton seems like a golden opportunity for Allan Moore to test some of the guys out on the fringe. Having praised the return of reserve team football Moore will be keen to keep people happy and that may be his downfall. Todd Lumsden’s side have been up, down and all around during the season so far so an opportunity to turn up, have a go and enjoy a game could be too good to miss! Inverurie Locos v Arbroath is another I think has the potential to keep Highland interest alive. Paul Sheerin’s team have not hit the ground running as well as they did last season so a visit to Inverurie would not be on his top ten things to do right now. Finally Stirling Albion v Deveronvale is the second time in 16 months that the Binos have faced Deveronvale. This is highly tricky and apart from beating Rangers this year, their season(s) at Stirling have been real struggles. An early cup exit seems to me to be on the cards for them too.

Difficult to call…

Competition within a competition is always good and there are a lot of right decent crackers in amongst here. The cup is no respecter of league positions, or at times, form so teams are far freer to engage in games where they should not expect to win in the league but in the cup have a right good chance. The all first division clash in Airdrie United v Raith Rovers sees  a team that has been struggling till last weekend against a team finding form under a new manager. Without 3 points at stake and considering the 4-3 win against Dumbarton last weekend I would expect Jimmy Boyle’ side to be far from a pushover. Ayr United v Inverness Clachnacuddin is a decent tie for the home side but considering that Mark Roberts has struggled to find consistency and form with his side it could be a shock on the cards. It is, however a team that Ayr should be beating easily, however their form moves it from easy cup tie to “tricky”. Brechin City v Bonyrigg Rose should be a walkover for any side that last weekend put 7 past Stenhousemuir at home. It is, however a cup tie and the form Brechin had been showing before them got Jim Weir the sack so I expect it to be a lot tighter than last weekend suggests. Dumbarton v East Stirlingshire sees the managerless Sons take on the team everyone always expects to be sitting bottom of the pile each and every May. East Stirling’s form has been good of late whilst the performances of Dumbarton have been patchy. Interim manager at the Bet Butler Stadium, Ross Jack could boost his chances of a permanent position with a win but John Coughlin’s lads this season have already proven to be good at these cup competition things!

Elgin City v East Fife has two teams with form that resembles a roller coaster. Whilst Elgin are sitting second top of their league the number of draws they have accrued should see them sponsored by Littlewoods. Meanwhile the Fifers have had one interim manager resign whilst another is awaiting the return of their ill manager. It’s a difficult one to know how each will react. Stenhousemuir v Berwick Rangers has a team coming off a 7-2 hiding up against a very well-drilled and competent third division side; it ought to be very tricky indeed. Added in is the spice that Ian Little was a former Warrior Cup Hero and we have that added little extra that makes the cup so worthwhile. Finally Stranraer v Queens Park has new manager Stephen Aitken in the Blues dugout for the visit of a third division side that narrowly missed out going top of their division last weekend. It could be claimed that this is two third division squads facing each other in the cup!

Should be a straightforward time of it…

If there are such things as straightforward ties these may be them. Edinburgh City v Queen of the South ought to be easy enough for the Ramsdens Cup finalists but between the travelling and the possibility Allan Jenkins could field a weakened side to rest some players and give fringe players a chance this could see the Edinburgh side think they have a chance. I have to say though if a full-time team cannot go away and come back with a win against Edinburgh City there’s something no right with the world. The same, I think is a danger for Partick Thistle v Cove Rangers. The Highland League side certainly fancy it and the other Ramsdens Cup finalist have an opportunity to let other youth players in whilst keeping their powder dry for round 4. I have to say though that the system that all the Thistle teams are using is likely to make sure they have the team to progress no matter the names on the team sheet. Another Highland League side in with a chance is at Forfar Athletic v Nairn County. Underestimating Highland opposition may be a trait south of the Central Belt, it isn’t up in Forfar and Dick Campbell will have prepared well for Nairn’s visit and I would expect the home side to get through comfortably. Rangers v Alloa Athletic will see Paul Hartley back at Ibrox – first time as a manager. Having graced many an Auld Firm derby in the hoops, Hartley will know that, even with a struggling third division team Rangers are dangerous. Quite simply I think that progress at least to the Quarter Finals for the Ibrox side should be the minimum expected; I cannot see this being an issue. Hartley will not enjoy losing again at Ibrox but he is no fool and will hope that his troops get a right good buzz out the atmosphere and the coffers get a welcome boost too.

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About Author

A lifelong supporter, since seeing Alex Ferguson play for them, of Ayr United he now contributes here, at KickTalk and Ringside Reports for things sporty. He is also a theatrical type and an educationalist. As an Ayr fan he clearly can explain the inexplicable, place fanatical faith in the most fantastic of dreams and deal with dark periods of depression and disappointment. Perfect as a teacher..

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