IT just wouldn't be the cup without a meeting of Morton and Motherwell.

Ton tread a well-worn path to Lanarkshire tomorrow as they face the Fir Park men in what is an especially eagerly awaited fourth round clash with away fans allowed back in.

This venue has not - to say the least - been a happy hunting ground for the Greenock men in knockout competitions over the recent years, suffering defeats in 2007, 2012, 2017, 2019 and again last year.

Some of them have been chastening experiences, notably the 6-0 hammering a decade ago and two 4-0 losses prior to last year's Scottish Cup encounter, which was a much more closely-fought affair.

On that sunny April evening the Greenock men took Well all the way to penalties and were unlucky to lose in the shootout after the sides had swapped last-gasp goals in a dramatic denouement to extra time.

Looking at their lineup compared to last year, they are undeniably a stronger side now, which bodes well for their chances of making things competitive once again.

Right through the spine of the team they are much better prepared to take on a Premiership side nine months on, with the additions of Jack Hamilton, Alan Lithgow, Jamie Brandon, Gozie Ugwu and Gavin Reilly significantly improving them.

They are also in excellent form at present, with recently appointed manager Dougie Imrie leading them to two wins and a draw since taking charge at Cappielow.

Whether those two factors will be enough to swing things in their favour and create a cup upset is another matter entirely, but if they can at least continue the performances of recent weeks then that will be another positive step forward.

While the league - and consolidating their status in the second tier - is obviously the main priority, they have nothing to lose and can go into this game with clear heads, plenty of confidence and give it a right good go.

Notwithstanding what has been a testing week for their opponents, the Championship men still face a tough task.

Over the course of the year since Graham Alexander took charge, his Steelmen have been best of the rest outside the Old Firm and they are currently in fourth place in the Premiership.

But they have been hit by the bodyblow of losing the league's top scorer, Tony Watt, to rivals Dundee United and then returned to action after the winter break with a disappointing defeat to Ross County in Dingwall on Tuesday.

They will be looking to bounce back as quickly as possible and show that their good first half of the campaign will not simply peter out, as they look to hold on to a top six place over the coming months and mount a cup run.

Alexander was critical of his side's showing in midweek, criticising their profligacy in front of goal and accusing them of becoming complacent when their hosts were reduced to 10 men.

It may be that he elects to make changes in the wake of that.

From Morton's perspective, it is difficult to see Imrie tinkering much.

He has quite rightly been delighted with the immediate response he has galvanised from a squad which had performed very poorly until his arrival.

The good work was carried on last weekend as they travelled to Ayr and secured a vital three points to close the gap on the Honest Men near the foot of the table.

They also secured another clean sheet, while resurgent striker Reilly followed up his goal against Dunfermline with a brace of poacher's finishes.

While he rightly attracted most of the headlines, the display of his strike partner Gozie Ugwu cannot be overlooked, as he put in a great shift and laid on the second for his team-mate with some terrific approach play.

In this form they are a potent pairing who can be a handful to any defence and there can be no question of breaking that combination up for a more pragmatic shape - Ton will want to play to their strengths and get the ball forward to them as often as possible.

Midfield, and who gains control of it, will be a key component in how this tie will play out and you could perhaps make a case for Kyle Jacobs coming in and adding a layer of extra security, but at the same time it would be extremely harsh for any of Reece Lyon, Cameron Blues and Gary Oliver to miss out.

This is a happy dilemma for the manager to have, and in any event it may be that the squad has to be utilised to the full if the tie goes beyond the distance like it did last year.

While talk of this game being a 'free hit' is probably a little trite, all the pressure should be on the home side.

Ton will need to go up a level again, but if they can keep Alexander's men at bay and gain a foothold they are capable of posing problems for them at the other end of the pitch - then things could get interesting.