Football Scottish preview: Coyle believes Cup could go to Motherwell

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THE MOTHERWELL striker Owen Coyle yesterday echoed the growing belief that the club can make a successful challenge for the Scottish Cup.

The Fir Park side today face Second Division Stirling Albion at home in the fourth round, and look good value for their status as third favourites behind Rangers and Celtic. And after disposing of last year's winners, Hearts, in the previous round, Motherwell's hopes of an extended Cup campaign are high.

"The beauty of the Cup is that it is a fantastic chance for every club to win a trophy regardless of their League position," Coyle said. "I think we have showed on our day that we are a match for anybody. Rangers found that out when they came down here just after Billy [Davies] took over as manager, and we know we are capable of beating any team in the country."

Stirling's player-manager, John Philliben, and captain, Brian Martin, will be intent on stopping Coyle tomorrow, but the Wells' striker feels last week's League defeat at Dundee will ensure there is no complacency in the home ranks.

"It will be exciting to see so many players coming back to the club, but we have got to look to our own game and get back to the standards we have set previously," he added.

Livingston's tie with St Johnstone will see a close friendship put to one side for the home manager, Ray Stewart, and the Saints' coach, Billy Kirkwood - at least until the following morning.

Kirkwood grinned: "Ray is often round for breakfast and takes the place by storm. It's like watching the Tasmanian devil in action - bacon, eggs, the lot, just disappear. "We often meet up for a pint, too, so there has been a lot of banter since the draw."

Stewart said: "There might be an extra edge because I'm pals with Billy. I know whatever happens we will still be mates at the end of it all."

Falkirk's proud recent history in the Cup - finalists and semi-finalists in the last two years - will be tested at Stair Park against Stranraer, while Greenock Morton should secure a quarter-final spot at the expense of Clyde. Rank outsiders Albion Rovers face Ayr United at Somerset Park.