JUNIOR football received some early festive cheer last night when the Evening Times staged the Emirates Scottish Cup fourth round draw – and pulled the plum tie of this season's competition out of the hat.
Super Premier League leaders Auchinleck Talbot will meet second-in-the-table Petershill at Beechwood Park in a clash that evokes memories of their 1988 final victory in what was the third of eight trophy successes in the past 26 years.
An away tie against their West Region rivals is hardly going to be to the Springburn side's liking, a sentiment echoed by co-boss Scott Smith.
He said: "It goes without saying that it's a tie we'd rather have avoided, but I don't imagine Talbot boss Tommy Sloan will be doing cartwheels either.
"If we are to win the cup then it's going to have to be done the hard way given we landed Bonnyrigg Rose away in the last round."
Arthurlie landed a cracker of their own in being pitted at home to fancied East Region big guns Linlithgow Rose, while the city's other top-flight hopeful Pollok will meet Beith in yet another all-Super Premier contest.
Scottish Cup holders Shotts Bon Accord landed lucky with Tony McInally's men awaiting the visit of one of his former clubs Benburb to Hannah Park.
Macca said: "I have great memories of my time at the Bens and it will be good to see some of the old-stagers again, as well as their manager Frank Lovering as we go back a long way.
"He was always a fierce competitor as a player and no doubt his team will epitomise that same never-say-die spirit. My players will need to be up for this game or we'll come a cropper."
Shettleston face a tough tie away to Irvine Meadow while Yoker fans will not be too dismayed to have a home match-up against the winners of the third round replay between Thorniewood United and Camelon.
Rob Roy will undoubtedly be delighted with their pairing at home to Rosyth Recreation, but a long trek awaits centenary celebrating Cumnock in heading north to face Culter.
Meanwhile, Emirates third round fallers Bellshill Athletic, who sacked gaffer Colin Mitchell in the aftermath of their 4-0 defeat at Musselburgh Athletic, have moved to fill the vacancy with the appointment of former Pollok strikers Robert Downs and Davie Turnbull.
Terracing tongues were understandably wagging at the sight of the pairing watching on as the homeless Lanarkshire men lost 1-0 against Carluke Rovers last Saturday, and they took up their new posts following further talks with club officials on Monday night.
Downs: said: "Davie and I have wanted to move into management for some time and we're delighted that Bellshill have afforded us this opportunity.
"We're well aware things are going to be tough with the team sitting at the wrong end of the table, but the display against Carluke was very encouraging."
The duo are awaiting their first game in charge when fellow strugglers Port Glasgow come to Bellshill's temporary Fullarton Park home this week.
Turnbull added: "They have a prolific goalscoring striker in Scott Nugent.
"What is clear is they similarly need the points to get moving in an upward direction so it could prove to be a nervy occasion."
THE FULL DRAW...
Emirates Scottish Cup. Fourth round draw:
Blackburn v Glencairn, Yoker v Camelon or Thorniewood, Lochee Utd v Ardeer Thistle, Pollok v Beith, Irvine Meadow v Shettleston, Shotts Bon Accord v Benburb, Musselburgh v Pumpherston, Kelty or Penicuik v Cumbernauld or Forfar West End, Johnstone Burgh v Dundonald, Auchinleck v Petershill, Arthurlie v Linlithgow, Montrose Roselea v Jeanfield, Kinnoull v Kilsyth, Dundee Violet v Bo'ness Utd, Culter v Cumnock, Rob Roy v Rosyth.
Ties to be played on Saturday, January 19, at 1.45pm.