The nostalgia of the Scottish Cup begins this week with Hibs, Cup Holders (how good does it feel to say that?), kicking off their campaign at the home of bitter rivals Hearts when they face East of Scotland Superleague outfit Bonnyrigg Rose.
The Midlothian side took the tie to Tynecastle in a bid to get a larger gate through the doors and have been rewarded by means of a sell out.
Fans of both clubs have been left disappointed with the limited ticket sales of around 11000 due to preparatory work taking place ahead of a full reconstruction of Hearts main stand this summer.
Hibs have virtually nothing to gain from the Fourth Round tie which could quite easily lead to negative reports regarding performance unless a comfortable victory is achieved.
Bonnyrigg on the other hand have been quite rightly enjoying their 15 minutes of fame and with the majority of their squad being local to the capital can feel rightly proud of their achievements thus far in the national trophy.
Gate receipts alone will keep the club solvent for many years to come and a tie against a big local club and reigning champions is just reward for the Rose.
Neil Lennon: ‘They knocked out Dumbarton in the last round, a team which gave us a tough match in the Championship last weekend.
‘They have an excellent record at junior level and the game’s local. We have to take the tie as we would any other game, really.
‘It will mean a lot to so many people associated with Bonnyrigg, particularly the players, and it will be a huge game for them in their careers.
‘I have seen some giant-killings this week in the English Cup and I don’t want to be on the end of one myself, so we will pay them a lot of respect. They have plenty of experience, physically they are a big side and they have no fear, so that’s a dangerous opponent to play against.’
David Gray: ‘You want to defend it, you want to be the team that goes on and wins it again. I know there was such a long wait for the team to do it, 114 years, but there’s no reason why we can’t put up a good challenge and try and go win it again this year.’
Lewis Turner (Bonnyrigg winger): “There are players in the team that will be wanting to try and prove that they are better than the standard they are playing at. It`s a big stage for everybody.
“When I was younger I played at Dunfermline and Livingston and never really got the chance when it got to the crunch time. When I went to Berwick I felt the same, I never really got a chance. This is an opportunity to show to people, not just for me, but for pretty much all of the boys in the team.
“It`s a chance to prove to people who never really believed in us or didn`t think we were good enough, to show them how good we are.”
Bonnyrigg Rose Team News:
Bonnyrigg will be at full strength for the biggest match of most of their squads life with Lewis Turner expected to be fit following a calf injury.
Player to watch: Michael Andrews
The Rose goalkeeper is likely to find himself a busy man for 90 minutes and will be hoping to perform heroics in order to help his team to a potential giant killing.
Was previously on the books of Falkirk, East Stirling and Berwick Rangers.
Hibernian Team News:
Boss Neil Lennon has proised to play a strong side but may look to field some fringe players such as Jordan Forster and Scott Martin as he bids to keep the squad fresh for the promotion run in.
Fraser Fyvie should continue his comeback from injury having started at Dumbarton last week and it’ll be interesting to see if the Hibs gaffer opts to start John McGinn after the Scotland international’s own return from surgery has seen him make appearances from the bench over the past fortnight.
Paul Hanlon misses out through a pelvic injury whilst captain David Gray is suspended after receiving a booking in the Scottish Cup Final following his dramatic injury time winner.
Player to watch: Chris Humphrey
The January signing has impressed in his two starts so far with the Hibees and the right winger will be looking to add to his assists tally against the non league outfit.
Match Facts & Stats
This is the first time the clubs have met in any competitive match.
Bonnyrigg have beaten Turriff United (1-1, 4-1), Cove Rangers (2-1) and Dumbarton (0-0, 0-1) to reach the Fourth Round for the first time in their history.
Former Hibs players to have played for the Rose include club legend Pat Stanton, Ally Brazil, Craig Paterson, Graham Harvey and more recently Sean O’Hanlon.
Hibs should win comfortably so I’ll say 4-0.
Hibs have a tough fixture away to improving Queen of the South in the Scottish Championship