Scottish Football: Beleaguered Celtic given a tough Cup test

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DUMBARTON, of the First Division, were celebrating last night after being paired with Rangers at Ibrox in yesterday's third-round draw for the Tennents Scottish Cup, but most eyes will be on the match between Motherwell and Celtic when the ties are played on 29 January, writes David McKinney.

The beleaguered board at Celtic would experience intolerable pressure if their club make an early exit from the tournament. Not even a promised early announcement on the plans for Celtic's new stadium at Cambuslang would assuage the mood of the fans.

The two sides last met on Cup business at the semi-final stage in 1991, with Motherwell prevailing 4-2 and going on to win the Cup. While Celtic and their supporters might groan at the prospect of a difficult start to the Cup campaign, Rangers will be clear favourites - not only to progress to the fourth round but to lift the Cup itself.

The goal-scoring exploits of Mark Hateley have lifted the Ibrox club to the top of the Premier Division. On Saturday a double from the Englishman contributed to a 3-0 win over Kilmarnock. On current form, it is difficult to see Dumbarton stand in their way, although the side managed by Murdo MacLeod, the former Celtic and Scotland midfielder, kept the score to 1-0 in the League Cup earlier in the season.

'It's definitely a good draw for us,' MacLeod said, 'because we'll be knocked out at some stage anyway, and this way we'll earn some money which hopefully will allow us to add to our squad.'

TENNENTS SCOTTISH CUP Third-round draw: Morton v Cowdenbeath or Stenhousemuir; Airdrie v Dunfermline; Clydebank v Dundee; Alloa or Gala Fairydean v Ross County; Huntly or Albion Rovers or Stranraer v Falkirk; Hibernian v Clyde; Stirling Albion v Berwick Rangers; St Mirren v Montrose; Kilmarnock v Ayr; Selkirk or Arbroath v Dundee United; Partick Thistle v Hearts; Rangers v Dumbarton; Raith Rovers v Brechin; Motherwell v Celtic; St Johnstone v Hamilton; East Stirling v Aberdeen. (Ties to be played 29 January).

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