It has to be said that Kilmarnock will be strong favourites. They are comfortably in the top six and were on a great run prior to the winter break. However, if we had to pick an SPL ground to visit, it would be Rugby Park. We have an excellent record there in recent times including a 3-0 triumph back in August.
Terry Butcher is in the rare position of having nearly a full squad available. Keith Lasley is fit for the first time in a while but he may not be able to force his way back into the side yet. James McFadden is available for the cup and should play assuming he can shrug off a throat infection. Daniel Sengewald is missing with an illness but it is doubtful the big German would have featured anyway.
Kilmarnock are likely to be without Gary Locke. Gary McSwegan is doubtful. Andy McLaren will need to be watched carefully and with any luck the ‘Well support will be able to put him off his game again. Jim Jefferies’ sides are well organised and hard to break down but Killie will feel they have to come out to win the game. That could leave space for McFadden and Pearson to break into. We are not suited to trying to break teams down so this will suit us fine. With DuBourdeau looking better with every passing game, a rare clean sheet is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Will a clean sheet be enough to see us through to the next round? Hard to say, since so much of our attacking threat comes through two temperamental youngsters. A 0-0 draw would certainly not be the end of the world but Terry Butcher will want to win this one at the first attempt. We might not win the cup this year but the dream will stay alive into February – Killie 1-2 ‘Well.