The fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup provided plenty of stories as usual, from Cowdenbeath’s late postponement against Rangers on Friday night to a number of surprise results.
Here are five things we learned from the weekend’s action.
1. The magic of the Scottish Cup remains strong
The weekend undoubtedly belonged to Auchinleck Talbot, one of the most famous teams from the ranks of the Scottish Juniors, who shocked neighbours Ayr 1-0 in front of a sell-out 3,100 crowd at their Beechwood Park home. To add to the romance, goalscorer Craig McCracken and manager Tommy Sloan are both former Ayr players. Talbot now face Hearts at Tynecastle in the fifth round.
2. The Premiership winter break helps create upsets
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes admitted his team looked “rusty” during their 1-1 home draw with Stenhousemuir while Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson felt his side had the air of a team who had been on a “four-week break” as they lost 2-1 to Championship leaders Ross County. Dundee held on for a draw at home to Queen of the South while St Mirren scraped past Alloa to underline the difficulties top-flight teams face in the fourth round.
3. Steve Clarke smells foul play
The Kilmarnock boss has been left with a bad taste in his mouth following the loss of Greg Stewart, who netted eight goals in 16 games before Birmingham recalled the striker and promptly loaned him to Aberdeen. After a 2-0 win over Forfar, Clarke said: “The whole deal had a slightly strange smell right from the very start”.
4. Ryan Gauld can provide some much-needed creativity for Hibernian
The former Dundee United playmaker showed he retains an eye for a pass by setting up Florian Kamberi to score as he made his Hibs debut in a 4-0 win over Elgin. Assistant head coach Garry Parker said of the on-loan Sporting Lisbon player: “You can see he’s going to be a player who will make a difference for us.”
5. Oliver Burke could have a central role for Celtic
The on-loan West Brom player has been a winger for most of his career but he has played through the middle for RB Leipzig and Scotland Under-21s and was handed that role in the absence of Odsonne Edouard as Celtic beat Airdrie 3-0. Burke was upstaged by another debutant as Timothy Weah came off the bench to net and Brendan Rodgers vowed to strip back the 21-year-old’s talent and help him progress.
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