THE demise of holders and favourites Grange in the previous round has thrown this season’s Citylets Scottish Cup wide open with Heriot’s, last year’s beaten finalists, among those now fancied to go all the way.
However, the Goldenacre side must first negotiate a tricky home tie against a West of Scotland team who are among the challengers for this season’s Western Premier title.
Boosted by the arrival of South African Rory Kleinveldt, West have a more potent look with bat and ball than has been the case for several seasons and Keith Morton, the Heriot’s captain, expects an exciting contest.
Morton said: “We’re very much looking forward to welcoming West – there are exciting players on both teams and on a good Goldenacre wicket they should produce an entertaining clash.”
Morton would no doubt settle for a repeat of the outcome when the teams last met in the cup two years ago – a one-wicket win for the capital troops who needed their last two batsmen to put on 40 runs in a Hamilton Crescent nail-biter.
The Heriot’s skipper added: “I’m sure both clubs will remember that one – with different emotions.”
West counterpart Ian Young certainly has less happy memories of that encounter, recalling: “I dropped the catch when they were nine wickets down!
“Heriot’s looked like they came over with the view that they would easily beat us but we held our own and had I held onto that catch we would have won the game.
“The guys are excited about the game – we know Heriot’s are a good side with good players but we are high on confidence and want to give a good account of ourselves.
“I think it will be a tight game but we will have to be at our best if we want to get revenge after that close game two years ago.”
Elsewhere Carlton, the conquerors of Grange, are another side with justifiable expectations of an extended run and the Grange Loan side start favourites with home advantage against Eastern Premier rivals Aberdeenshire who, with just one win, are enduring a difficult league campaign.
‘Shire, though, were good enough to see off Clydesdale in the previous round and have a formidable record in the country’s premier knockout competition.
Granite City neighbours Stoneywood-Dyce welcome Ferguslie to People’s Park and the Western Premier champions are desperate to take one step closer to a home final next month.
The final tie sees Arbroath, another club with a proud cup tradition -winners in 2015 and finalists the following year – entertain Stirling at Lochlands.
Arbroath may see it as an omen that Stirling were among their victims during their run to glory four years ago despite current skipper Matt Tweedie’s unbeaten century for the visitors.