Junior Cup preview: last 16 game by game

Linlithgow Rose and Bonnyrigg Rose were on the wrong end of stunning Scottish Junior Cup defeats
Linlithgow Rose and Bonnyrigg Rose were on the wrong end of stunning Scottish Junior Cup defeats

It’s ETHX Scottish Junior Cup time again this weekend - with just 16 sides still in contention to lift the prestigious trophy.

And there are some fascinating ties in prospect as six Ayrshire sides, five East Superleague outfits, four Central Region sides and one North Region survivor battle for a place in the quarter-finals.

Kilwinning Rangers v Linlithgow Rose

Rose’s remarkable exploits in the senior Scottish Cup have been one of the stories of the Scottish season so far, but now they’re back on familiar territory as big guns rather than underdogs.

Davie McGlynn’s men are 7/1 joint third favourites to add to their four previous cup triumphs in 1965, 2002, 2007 and 2010.

But last season’s beaten semi-finalists will take nothing for granted against a Kilwinning side - winners in 1909 and 1999 - who are unbeaten in league or cup football since September 19 and who have already accounted for one East Superleague side in Sauchie in this season’s competition.

Hurlford United v Rossvale

The proverbial ‘David v Goliath’ tie sees the self-styled ‘Rossvale Revolution’ roll into Ayrshire to take on the 2014 winners.

Bishopbriggs-based ‘Vale, who recently signed former Celtic winger Bobby Petta. have only been part of the junior ranks since 2011 and have already enjoyed their best-ever Scottish Cup run by making the last 16.

Martin Lauchlan’s Central First Division outfit - chasing a second successive promotion and a place in the Super League - have won plaudits for the free-scoring football this season.

However it would be a major shock if they managed to extend their cup run against a strong Hurlford side.

Camelon Juniors v Kelty Hearts

Camelon aren’t ranked among the main contenders this year but have a decent cup pedigree, having won the trophy in 1995.

They’ve come through quietly but their run started with a 7-1 thumping of Irvine Victoria and they were impressive 4-1 winners against a then in-form Kilsyth Rangers in the third round.

However the Mariners face a tough test against reigning East Superleague champions Kelty who have twice reached the final, losing to Kilwinning in 1999 and Linlithgow in 2007.

The sides have already met in the league this season, Kelty winning at home 3-0 in November.

Bonnyrigg Rose v Pollok

Two of the biggest names in junior football clash at New Dundas Park in arguably the tie of the round between East and West Super League leaders.

Bonnyrigg are currently 5/4 favourites to land the East Superleague title and, at 8/1, are fancied by many as a good bet to add to their two previous cup successes in 1966 and 1978.

Given their standing in the game it’s perhaps surprising that Pollok have only won the cup three times - in 1981, 1985 and 1997 - and they are still trying to recapture former glories following their shock relegation two years ago.

But having gained promotion at the first time of asking they are currently four points clear at the top of the West Super League - albeit with more games played than their rivals - and recently enjoyed a fine win over Auchinleck Talbot.

Carnoustie Panmure v Auchinleck Talbot

Carnoustie won the trophy in 2004 but the Gowfers’ hopes of a second success weren’t helped by a draw which paired them with the holders and junior game’s benchmark powerhouses.

Talbot have taken the trophy back to Ayrshire an incredible 11 times - six more than anyone else - and have won four out of the last seven.

They have been untypically vulnerable at times this season but remain the bookies’ favourites to become the first side since 1992 - naturally, they were the side in question - to retain the trophy.

Carnoustie have yet to lose a goal in this season’s competition but it would be a major surprise if that were still the case come Saturday evening.

Beith v Petershill

Another of the ties of the round as two West SuperLeague sides square up to each other at Bellsdale Park.

Perhaps surprisingly given their record in other cups, Beith have never won the Scottish while Petershill have lifted the trophy on five occasions - but their last triumph was way back in 1956.

However Peasies have knocked out three East Superleague sides so far in Newtongrange Star, last season’s finalists Musselburgh Athletic and Hill o’Beath Hawthorn.

Beith are unbeaten at home in the league this season but Petershill did draw 2-2 there on the opening day of the campaign and also won 1-0 when the sides met at Petershill in December.

Hermes v Kilbirnie Ladeside

With Shettleston and Tayport among their victims this season Kilbirnie are another side rated a decent bet to go through to the later stages of the competition.

The 1952 and 1977 winners have also only lost one Super League game all season and are heavy odds-on to dispose of the last remaining North Region side who are 100/1 to win the cup.

Darvel Juniors v Arthurlie

Ayrshire District League side Darvel shocked Super League Troon to reach the last 16 - and that should be sufficient warning to Arthurlie not to take them lightly.

In the midst of a fight against relegation, the Barrhead side are unlikely to go on to add to their cup successes of 1937 and 1998, but should still be too strong for Darvel.