Hurlford United boss Darren Henderson has thrown down the gauntlet to his players for the Scottish Junior Cup.

The Blair Park outfit have fallen on leaner times since coming to the fore as Holy Grail winners as recently as 2014 but Hendo believes home advantage could help his side emerge as trophy contenders yet again.

He was speaking last night ahead of the visit of runaway East Premier League leaders Musselburgh Athletic in a four-times postponed third-round contest which the affable gaffer believes has been given fresh impetus by this week’s Evening Times hosted fourth-round draw landing the winners with a home tie against Haddington Athletic.

“I have a lot of good memories of Scottish Cup days here at Blair Park and I don’t think it’s beyond us to get a bit of momentum going in this season’s competition if we can just get over this Musselburgh hurdle,” said the former Senior ace.

“Playing at home in the Cup and with our own supporters roaring us on gets a reaction from the guys and it might be just the edge needed to get over the line particularly as I think the game is going to be close to call.

“Musselburgh are a club with a decent Cup record in recent years – beaten finalists in 2011 and 2015 – and I am an acquaintance of their manager Matty King who played in both those teams and I would put money on him having designs on his side enjoying a Cup run.

“We had them watched when the third-round draw was initially made and they are a team that likes to get the ball down and play passing football but also have a physicality about them so our guys are aware a tough 90 minutes is in store.

"Being knocked out of the Scottish in the first round last season up at Lochee United was a blow from which we never really recovered so it could be the making of us to get through today and have Cup dreams carried into the New Year.”

On the playing front, experienced midfielder Chris McKnight out with cruciate ligament damage while Henderson has a selection headache with classy defender Richie McKillen – who has been out with a back injury for the past two months – having come through twin training sessions with his team-mates this week without suffering any adverse reaction.

Hendo admitted: “It’s tempting to throw Richie straight back in but best to wait until closer to kick off time to make a decision – and even then physiotherapist advice is paramount.

“Otherwise we are close to full strength as both Mark Roberts and Taz [Paul McKenzie] have declared themselves fit.”

Meanwhile, one hears of doubts being expressed over the suitability of venues for a couple of the scheduled Scottish Junior Cup fourth round encounters in and around Glasgow.

Huntershill, the Bishopbriggs base of Rossvale Juniors, is thought incapable of housing the large crowd likely to be in attendance for their meeting with big guns Pollok while fears are also being expressed as to whether Gartcairn’s home ground, The MTC Stadium, is suitable for the forthcoming tie against Arthurlie.

Junior supporters craving a bit of festive action may wish to take note of friendly action taking place next midweek starting on Wednesday evening (7.15pm) with Rutherglen Glencairn taking on Fauldhouse United at Toryglen and the same venue hosts a Maryhill v Muirkirk game on Friday 29th (7pm) while earlier the same day, St Roch's face East Kilbride Amateurs (12.30pm)at the James McGrory Stadium.

PLAYING TODAY:(Kick Offs 1.30PM unless stated ): Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round:Scone Thistle v Kilsyth Rangers, Sauchie v Camelon ,Dyce v Irvine Meadow , Bellshill Athletic v Ashfield ,Oakley Utd v Linlithgow Rose, Downfield v Wishaw, Whitburn v Benburb , Thorniewood Utd v East Kilbride Thistle ,Newtongrange Star v Cumbernauld Utd, Hurlford Utd v Musselburgh Athletic, Carnoustie Panmure v Petershill, Lochee Utd v Johnstone Burgh , Crossgates Primrose v Beith , Hill of Beath v Auchinleck Talbot . 3rd Round Replays. Lochore Welfare v Forth Wanderers. Super Premier Division (1.45PM). Glenafton v Rob Roy, Cumnock v Kilbirnie Ladeside.