St Mirren head into the Scottish Cup fifth round at the weekend with the aim of returning to the quarter-finals, having exited at this stage at the hands of Celtic last season after making the final eight in the previous three campaigns.
Indeed, their 2022-23 run was abruptly ended in a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Celtic in Glasgow last February, with Mark O’Hara’s 87th-minute penalty being nothing more than a consolation.
Their new cup campaign then began in the fourth round in January as third-tier Queen of the South visited Paisley, and while Stephen Robinson’s side were able to progress with a win and a clean sheet, they were arguably not overly convincing, with Alex Gogic’s 71st-minute goal making the only difference between the sides.
That victory was followed by a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Rangers, but the Saints have since bounced back in impressive fashion with back-to-back wins to move clear in fifth spot in the Scottish Premiership, firstly beating Hibernian 3-0 in Edinburgh before most recently picking up a 2-0 triumph at home to Dundee thanks to second-half goals from Mikael Mandron and Toyosi Olusanya.
With a degree of momentum now back on their side, St Mirren will now aim to avenge last season’s fifth-round defeat to Celtic and end a six-match winless run against the visitors to book their own quarter-final spot this season.
That will be no easy task, though, as the defending champions aim to take a step closer to winning their 42nd Scottish Cup title this season.
After thrashing St Mirren in last season’s fifth-round meeting between these sides, Celtic went on to prevail alongside their Scottish Premiership win last season by beating Hearts and rivals Rangers before seeing off Inverness Caledonian Thistle in a 3-1 win in the final.
Brendan Rodgers’s side would then kick off their bid to retain the title in the fourth round last month, as fifth-tier Buckie Thistle travelled to Celtic Park, and they advanced with a dominant triumph, dishing out a 5-0 beating with Paulo Bernardo, Odin Thiago Holm, Kyogo Furuhashi, Luis Palma and Rocco Vata all on the scoresheet.
The Scottish Premiership leaders do now head into the weekend on the back of a slightly tougher run in their league title defence, though, despite only dropping two points in their last three outings, having firstly beaten Ross County 1-0 at home following their cup win before being held to a 1-1 draw by Aberdeen, as they pulled level through Nicolas Kuhn on the hour mark.
Now following a hard-fought 2-1 victory away at Hibernian thanks to a pair of Adam Idah penalties, with the winner not coming until the 92nd minute, Celtic will be keen to return to their best sooner rather than later with hopes of succeeding on all domestic fronts once again this term and will bid to show their quality and progress to the Scottish Cup quarter-finals in style on Sunday.