Scottish Football: Airdrie home in on the end of a cup era

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AS THE only side left in the Tennents Scottish Cup from outside the Premier Division, Airdrieonians hope to make their last cup tie at Broomfield a day to remember.

The crumbling ground, Airdrie's home for more than a century, will be demolished at the end of the season, so today's quarter-final against Dundee United has an historical feel to it.

United cannot afford to underestimate a team who reached the semi-finals of the Skol Cup and lost to Rangers in the Scottish Cup final two seasons ago - and the First Division side have not conceded a goal for eight hours.

'There are a lot of players here who can get charged up for the big occasion,' Alex MacDonald, the Airdrie manager, said. 'They get greater media coverage, and they don't want to lose when they know their granny or auntie is watching.'

Unfortunately for Airdrie, their former Portsmouth midfielder, Kenny Black, is out with kidney damage, while Davie Kirkwood has walked out on the club and Alan Lawrence is suspended.

Rangers entertain Hearts in their quarter-final knowing that they are only 15 games away from back-to- back trebles. They can draw encouragement from the fact that the Edinburgh side have not won at Ibrox for nearly six years, though their best form recently has been away from home. Rangers' Trevor Steven (back injury) and Stuart McCall (stomach upset) are both doubtful starters.

Aberdeen will continue to rely on their 20-year-old third-choice goalkeeper, Derek Stillie, when they visit St Johnstone. The Saints hope to have midfielder Gary McGinnis fit but the injured Sean McAuley misses out. Kilmarnock, seeking a place in their first semi-final for 22 years, have Shaun McSkimming and Mark Reilly fit for the visit of Dundee, for whom Dusan Vrto is suspended.