The restructuring of the junior game into the pyramid system might have reduced the value of the historic competition for some critics – but Rabs gaffer Stewart Maxwell isn’t one of them and he’d love to see his side reach the last eight, as they did in 2017 and 2018, and hopefully go beyond.
“I don’t agree with people who say it’s not the same competition,” he said.
“I know there’s a couple of teams missing but there’s still a nucleus of fantastic teams in the competition.
"We’re a very traditional junior cup club. The chairman, committee, supporters all love it and would love to go to the quarter-finals again.”
Maxwell may have a point. Even without the former East Region clubs, this year’s contest features all the traditional West of Scotland cup heavyweights of recent years.
The last team from outside the West to win the cup were Linlithgow Rose in 2010. Since then, all the winners and all but three beaten finalists – Musselburgh twice and Linlithgow again – have been West clubs.
Rob Roy are part of the cup’s history and this season marks the 60th anniversary of the last of their three triumphs in 1962.
The Premiership side will be favourites against Conference outfit Johnstone, but while his players have a massive opportunity, Maxwell is taking nothing for granted, particularly as ties must now be settled on the day.
In the past, holding on for a draw and home replay might have been seen as an acceptable outcome from a tricky away tie, but not now.
He said: “It will be a tough game. Johnstone Burgh will be up for it and it’s got to be won over 90 minutes, so that can create a few shocks, as it has done this year.
“We’re going to win the game. We’re not going to sit back. If you go to penalties, it’s a lottery.
“It’s a massive game for the club and a great experience for the players. The club haven’t won the junior cup for 60 years and it would be great to get to the latter stages again and experience that.
“There will be a healthy crowd there and I think the younger players who have not really experienced that will start to see what this competition means and the history it’s got within the club.”