THE scene is set for a momentous fifth-round day in this season’s Scottish Junior Cup competition even though the fourth-round tie between Wishaw and Forth Wanderers (postponed twice previously) ensures that only seven of an intended eight head to heads will be played out this afternoon.

And arguably taking pride of place among what is a veritable array of eagerly awaited confrontations is the Beechwood Park clash between two of Junior football’s most decorated clubs over the past 30 years: Auchinleck Talbot and Pollok.

Experienced visiting supporters will undoubtedly be hoping history can repeat itself insofar as the Southsiders' last venture into the Ayrshire heartlands at the Scottish fifth-round stage was back in 1985 when Dick Brock's Lok side ran out 4-0 winners en route to lifting the silverware with a Cup Final victory over Petershill.

But undoubtedly of greater consequence – and not just because they are easier to recall – are the somewhat more vivid memories of a 2-1 Newlandsfield defeat inflicted by the Ayrshiremen just two weeks ago in a vital Super Premier Division encounter.

Talbot’s ever-so slender winning margin does not reflect the manner of the victory on the day and the fall-out from Lok’s first defeat in eight outings is still being sorely felt going into today’s contest after Gary McCann picked up an automatic two-match ban for his red card during the game.

The speedy winger, arguably Pollok’s best performer this season, must sit out the Cup tie and suspension also rules out the Glasgow club’s former Auchinleck defender Martin McGoldrick after he made a surprise appearance in a friendly match against Petershill on the Monday night following the Talbot reverse – and was sent off.

Goldie’s return from his work commitments in Dubai was believed to be both short-lived and coincidental. However there is a school of thought in the Southside that he featured against Petershill to gain match fitness should boss Tony McInally need to throw him in against his former club in the event of Bryan Wharton failing to recover from a groin injury which has sidelined the ex-Queen's Park defender for the past month.

And one can well understand Macca wanting to have Wharton at the heart of his defence for the trip into Ayrshire as his competitive and uncompromising playing style appears perfectly suited for going toe to toe with Talbot’s aggressive forward line of Sean McElroy, Graham Wilson and Jamie Glasgow.

Also set for a return to the visiting fold is full-back Grant Evans, another absentee in the Newlandsfield game, and McInally is putting great store in having his first-choice defence available.

He said: "We will be a different proposition altogether down at Beechwood with both Grant and Bryan back as well as a goalkeeper Jordan Longmuir being fully fit after playing while 60 per cent at best in the league game.”

Ex-Auchinleck aces Bryan Young and David Gormley are almost certain starters on their return to their old stomping ground but trying to second guess Macca’s selection is anything but straightforward given the playing riches at his disposal.

Adam Forde’s goalscoring contribution as a substitute at Newlandsfield could earn him a starting jersey and the belief is Ryan McGregor’s height and physicality will get him the nod to anchor the midfield, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who comes in for the suspended McCann with Stefan McLuskey and Del Hepburn looking the most likely candidates.

Auchinleck boss Tommy Sloan's only selection consideration is whether to recall top-scoring hitman Wilson or to continue with the burly McElroy as the strike partner for Glasgow.

Otherwise one would have to say Talbot’s team just about picks itself now that skipper Willie Lyle and midfield warhorse Stevie White are back to their best and inspiring team-mates around them.

Another stormy Ayrshire-based Cup contest takes place at Valefield where Kilbirnie Ladeside host the visit of a Bo’ness United side that have already taken the scalp of Super Premier league leaders Kilwinning Rangers.

Blasties boss Budgie McGhie has admitted to frustration over his club’s stop/start campaign throughout the winter months but is taking comfort from an injury list finally beginning to clear.

He said: “Arguably our most influential player Davie Anderson is back training after a couple of months out and a further boost comes from Dom McLaren, Gavin Mitchell and Robbie Halliday proving they are ready to come back into the mix.

“Getting these guys back in harness is a great lift for our dressing room and a much needed one because our recent signing Mark Burbridge is a definite non-starter after picking up a debilitating virus that required him to attend hospital.

“His absence is a blow. He is desperate to play his first competitive game for us.

"Another bit of bad luck is that Gavin Stokes damaged his ribs against West End and is looking at a two-to-three week absence before he can play again who only returned to action in our recent game.

Budgie had Bo’ness watched in a 4-0 defeat by Broughty Athletic last weekend, but he is warning his players to ignore the result.

He said: "Their league results have been all over the place if truth be told and we have to look at their 3-0 defeat of Kilwinning as a better indicator of their strengths and prepare ourselves accordingly.

“A tough 90 minutes is in prospect but I can honestly say t everyone here is looking forward to the game.”

PLAYING TODAY(Kick Offs 2PM) unless stated : Scottish Junior Cup 5th Round(2.15PM). Auchinleck Talbot v Pollok, Bonnyrigg Rose v Beith, Carnoustie Panmure v Arthurlie, Irvine Meadow v Lochee Utd, Kilbirnie Ladeside v Bo’ness Utd, Rob Roy v Linlithgow Rose,Sauchie v Hurlford Utd.4th Round.Wishaw v Forth Wanderers, Super Premier Division Glenafton v Girvan Super First Division. Kello Rovers v Largs Thistle ,Petershill v Maryhill, Darvel v Troon, Cambuslang Rangers v Renfrew, Kilsyth Rangers v Rutherglen Glencairn , Larkhall Thistle v Shettleston. Central First Division. Blantyre Vics v Shotts Bon Accord, Greenock v Benburb, Neilston v Port Glasgow, East Kilbride Thistle v Thorniewood Utd, Glasgow Perthshire v St Rochs. Central Second Division. Ashfield v Vale of Clyde ,Dunipace v Johnstone Burgh ,Newmains Utd v Royal Albert,St Anthonys v Carluke Rovers, Lanark Utd v Vale of Leven ,Bellshill Athletic v Ayrshire District League. Muirkirk v Saltcoats Vics, Ardeer Thistle v Ardrossan Winton Rovers , Dalry Thistle v Annbank Utd , Irvine Vics v Whitletts Vics . New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup 1st Round. Craigmark v Cumbernauld Utd, Lugar Boswell v Clydebank.