BEITH’S players and supporters have much to feel proud about if they ever have time to reflect on what has been a year of over-achievement.

Not that they could ever forget against a backdrop of seemingly endless celebrations of the first Scottish Junior Cup victory in the Ayrshire club’s 79-year history which are quite rightly showing no signs of letting up given their reign as Junior football’s 2016 kingpins is not officially over until June.

A look back at this time last season shows the Mighty were just about to embark on a winning run that was destined to culminate in their most glorious end-of-season ever so it’s more than a tad ironic that by teatime today Johnny Millar’s men might actually have strengthened their grip on the game’s No.1 trophy prize and set the wheels in motion for another 12 months of partying.

It would be nothing less than extremely disrespectful to a host of other clubs…30 in number…if one were to call today’s clash between the trophy holders and Auchinleck Talbot (it doesn’t seem right to describe the record 11 times cup winners as pretenders to the throne) a trophy decider, however you can bet that bookmakers will have no such reservations and will barely wait for the dust to settle at Bellsdale Park before installing whosoever comes out on top of this epic fourth round head to head as outright favourites to get their hands on the 130-year old silverware yet again.

Beith boss Millar believes it’s a stretch too far to talk about possible cup winners when there are four more games to be played out before this season’s final, but he does accept his side’s chances of historic back-to-back successes will be greatly enhanced by a victory today.

He insisted: “It’s fair to say I wouldn’t fear facing any other team if we can beat Auchinleck.

“They are a phenomenal Scottish Cup team and have been the benchmark for every club since I came into the Juniors as a player with Arthurlie but my players will not go into today’s tie thinking we are underdogs…and why should we on current form?

“The guys have already shown themselves a match for Talbot this season and I’ve every confidence in their abilities to do the job especially at Bellsdale where our home record is second to none.

“Two evenly matched sides make it a close to call contest and the only prediction I’m prepared to make is anyone coming to watch the game can expect to see two teams going for it and holding nothing back.”

Millar who is putting great store in the trio of Jamie Wilson, Div McGowan and Paul Frize winning the midfield exchanges is contemplating a shock return to action for highly-regarded full-back Nikky Dochery from a near three-month injury absence.

He added: “Nikky is a very important cog in our team and his return would be a huge boost to everyone, however it is also a huge risk to throw him straight into a game of this importance even though he was flying at our training sessions this week.

“Assuming he suffers no reaction then it’s looking like we will have a big decision to make closer to kick-off time.”

Meanwhile, hoping to prove themselves the scourge of the Ayrshire town of Irvine are Carluke Rovers who await the visit to the John Cummings Stadium of Irvine Meadow after eliminating Irvine Vics in the last round.

Rovers boss Colin Slater accepts his side have a much bigger hurdle to negotiate in going up against the Medda however he is not running scared of the prospect and feels confident his players will give a good account of themselves.

He said: “The spirits are high in our camp as you might expect on the back of a five-game unbeaten run and the players will relish having a break from the norm to play in the cup.

“I took in Irvine Meadow’s game against Cumbernauld last week and they are a decent side with quality players in big centre-back Ryan Begley, the former Pollok full-back Mark McLennan and Gordon Boyd up front, however they are not unbeatable and that’s the message I’ve been preaching to our players this past week.

“Our two front men Ian Watt and Craig Fernie have shown they know where the goal is and will pose a danger and it’s encouraging that we also have last season’s Medda goalkeeper Danile Tobin as our last man standing at the other end of the pitch.

“We are not going to be making a raft of changes with the guys in such good form but the temptation is there to recall our most experienced player Mark Haddow who returned to training after a long injury absence this week and you can take it we’ll be wrapping him in cotton wool to see if he can declare himself fit for Saturday.

“The Scottish has been full of surprise results this season and I see no reason not to think there will be a few more tomorrow.”

Blantyre Vics were arguably the shock troops of the third round after knocking out Bo’ness United on penalty-kicks and they are again up against it in heading through to take on another East Region giant in Linlithgow Rose not least because Vics gaffer John Gibson has only 14 players to call on.

He revealed: “We have snapped up striker John Cunningham on a loan deal from Alloa Athletic and he’ll be in for a baptism of fire against Linlithgow.

“Nobody gives us a chance of surviving through there but that has been the case in every Scottish Cup tie yet we are still here while Bo’ness, Tayport and Largs Thistle are not, so nobody should be writing us off…depleted or not.”

Only 14 of the fourth-round encounters are taking place today with Kilsyth Rangers unable to face Bonnyrigg Rose who are otherwise engaged on big Scottish Cup duty so their tie is scheduled to go ahead next week as is the meeting of Rob Roy and Musselburgh Athletic which has been held over because Cumbernauld United have first option on Guys Meadow for their clash against Luncarty.


(Kick-offs 1.45pm)

Scottish Junior Cup Fourth Round: East Kilbride Thistle v Glenafton, Kelty Hearts v Hill of Beath, Girvan v Penicuik Athletic, Petershill v Haddington Athletic, Renfrew v Greenock, Dunbar Utd v Benburb, Gartcairn v Hermes, Linlithgow Rose v Blantyre Vics, Carluke Rovers v Irvine Meadow, Fauldhouse Utd v Maryhill, Edinburgh Utd v Kilwinning Rangers, Broughty Athletic v Sauchie, Beith v Auchinleck Talbot, Cumbernauld Utd v Luncarty. Super Premier Division: Troon v Pollok, Cumnock v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Hurlford Utd v Arthurlie, Largs Thistle v Rob Roy. Super First Division: Clydebank v Irvine Vics, Rutherglen Glencairn v Kilsyth Rangers, Shettleston v Yoker Athletic. Central First Division: St Roch’s v Bellshill Athletic, Johnstone Burgh v Lesmahagow, Cambuslang Rangers v Rossvale, Vale of Clyde v Forth Wanderers, Neilston v Wishaw, Larkhall Thistle v Thorniewood Utd. Central Second Division: Ashfield v Newmains Utd, Lanark Utd v Port Glasgow, Glasgow Perthshire v Dunipace, Vale of Leven v Royal Albert. Ayrshire District League: Darvel v Maybole, Whitletts Vics v Lugar Boswell, Ardeer Thistle v Kello Rovers, Craigmark v Ardrossan Winton Rovers, Saltcoats Vics v Annbank Utd, Dalry Thistle v Muirkirk.