LAST week, in the build-up to the fourth round of the Scottish Cup, a piece in the Daily Record claimed that the tournament had lost its romance. It argued that since the competition has far fewer upsets than its English counterpart, it has therefore lost the magic it once possessed.

The piece hasn’t aged well.

In fact, it took just 90 minutes of Scottish Cup fourth-round action to prove that, even though we may let the spark fizzle out of our relationship now and then, the Scottish Cup still possesses the ability to win us back with a grand gesture, reminding us why we fell in love in the first place.

And besides, there is one very good reason for why there are more banana skins in the FA Cup. Namely that some Premier League giants de-prioritise the competition, fielding weakened sides as they focus on their title challenge or relegation battle.

Even some of those destined for mid-table see more benefit to finishing two places higher than taking home a trophy.

Luckily, in Scotland the pull of spending an afternoon or two cheering your side on at Hampden, as well as a realistic chance of silverware (save the last couple of years of dominance from Brendan Rodgers’s Celtic), means that managers of the biggest clubs in the country use squad rotation in the Scottish Cup sparingly.

And that’s not to say there have been no cupsets in recent times. Just three years ago Annan Athletic thumped Premiership side Hamilton, while Bonnyrigg Rose knocked out Dumbarton. Two years before that Morton were defeated by Lowland League side Spartans.

Regardless, perhaps fewer upsets is a good thing. Their rarity means that when they come along they are all the sweeter – even more so when the scalp of a full-strength side, or something approaching their usual starting XI, from a higher division is taken.

People still reminisce, for instance, about Stenhousemuir’s 2-0 victory over Aberdeen in 1995 or when Clyde spoiled Roy Keane’s debut by recording a 2-1 win over Celtic in 2006. I still vividly remember Eddie Malone’s left-foot volley into the top corner of Artur Boruc’s goal like it was yesterday. Conversely, and this may say more about me than anyone else, I wouldn’t know any of Stevenage’s three scorers from their 2011 victory over Newcastle if you told me their names.

Another Scottish Cup result that will live long in the memory will be Auchinleck Talbot’s impressive victory over local rivals of sorts Ayr United. Though, to be fair to the Record article, it did predict that if anyone was going to cause a cupset, it would be the Junior Cup holders.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer, granted, but on Saturday we also saw Stenhousemuir rekindle the spirit of 1995 and record a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie – arguably the result of the weekend. Elsewhere, part-time East Fife knocked out full-time Morton and, though they may not be shocks as such, Raith Rovers blew away fierce rivals Dunfermline, while Queen of the South took Dundee to a replay.

And that’s not even to mention the fact that the Scottish Cup semi-finals routinely throw up one of the best weekends of football on the calendar, with unfancied sides like Falkirk reaching Hampden on more than one occasion in recent times.

Moreover, in recent years, we’ve seen the likes of Inverness and St Johnstone take the trophy home for the first time in their respective histories. Just 20 years before that Caley were entering the professional league set-up – what’s not romantic about all of that?

Forfar can be proud despite defeat to Kilmarnock

EVEN though they weren’t among those to have recorded one of the upsets of Saturday afternoon, Forfar can rightfully be proud of their showing at Rugby Park. 

The National:

In the first half they sat in and tried to hit Kilmarnock on the break, leaving Dale Hilson up front on his own. Despite this, the 26-year-old caused the home side a lot of problems with his movement, touch and ability at bringing others into play.

Then, in the second half, they came close to an equaliser on several occasions, eventually succumbing to a 2-0 defeat.

It was a continuation of a string of recent eye-catching performances from the Angus side after a poor start to their League One campaign, in which they won just two of their opening nine.

It was an especially disappointing start given that Jim Weir recruited well in the summer, adding the likes of John Baird and Thomas Reilly, as well as a number of loan players from Premiership sides.

The poor start meant that Dylan Easton, missing on Saturday through injury, was once again the target of some of the boo boys. He is now benefitting from a decent spell injury free, after a difficult couple of seasons, and from playing alongside the likes of Baird and Hilson – who now have 23 goals between them – as well as Reilly, who epitomises Weir’s style of play, spraying passes around from the centre of the park.

After a shaky start, the current run of 8 wins from 12 league matches means the Loons are now firmly in contention for a promotion play-off spot.