CARLTON launch their defence of the Scottish Cup this afternoon (Sun) when they travel to Langloan to face Drumpellier.
On paper this may look like a gentle opener for the Grange Loan side but they know they can take nothing for granted against the team from the First Division of the WDCU.
Carlton need look back no further than last season’s semi-final to recall what awkward opponents Drumpellier can be. They had home advantage on that occasion and eventually prevailed by 42 runs after a hard-fought battle.
The Edinburgh men will also be aware that Drumpellier reached the last four of the cup thanks to a sensational quarter-final win against Grange, a match which took place at today’s Lanarkshire venue where Drumps are notoriously difficult to beat.
Elsewhere, there are several more enticing east v west encounters, perhaps none more so than Arbroath’s home clash with Prestwick.
Had Arbroath not fallen at the final hurdle of the league season last year, this would have been a battle of the Eastern and Western Premier champions.
It still promises to be a fiercely contested affair with home skipper Marc Petrie saying: “What Prestwick achieved last season speaks for itself.
“They are obviously a quality side and we will have to be at our best and hopefully we will be because we’d love to go on a cup run this season.”
There were similar sentiments from Ferguslie captain Jamey Carruthers as his Paisley side geared up for the arrival of an unknown quantity in Stewarts Melville.
He said: “Regionalisation a few seasons ago means it’s only the cup that gives us the chance to play against sides from the east so we don’t know much about Stewarts Melville.
“However, we do know that the Eastern Premier is a competitive league so we expect a tough game.”
Having lost at Drumpellier last season, Grange head west again this time to play an Ayr team who are capable of competing with the best on their day.
Colin Mitchell, the Clydesdale manager, is relishing the trip north to face Aberdeenshire, the team for whom he played with distinction for several seasons.
Neither team has settled into top form as yet this season though Dale did have an excellent Murgitroyd Cup semi-final win over Forfarshire a couple of weeks ago and Mitchell said: “The current incarnation of the Clydesdale team may be seen as underdogs for matches like this but the form we showed to beat a quality Forfarshire team gives us hope.”
Greenock, traditional cup specialists, hope they can make home advantage pay against Glenrothes at Glenpark as do Watsonians who are seeking to avenge a league defeat on the opening day of the season when they entertain Forfarshire in an all Eastern Premier encounter.
Eastern Premier champions Heriot’s should be too strong for Irvine while West of Scotland will be wary of a potential banana skin when they travel to Meigle and Old Anniesland stages the west-end derby between GHK and Glasgow Accies.
Dunnikier are bidding to progress when they host Kelburne while Stoneywood-Dyce have home advantage against RH Corstorphine.
Other ties see Freuchie travel to Uddingston, Poloc welcome East Kilbride to Shawholm, Edinburgh Accies host Stirling County while Renfrew and Weirs clash at King George V Playing Fields.
See the 2018 Citylets Cup HERE