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Holders start defence at Ayr

Scotland's most decorated track and field athlete Eilidh Doyle returned to Hampden Park on Wednesday - the home of her success at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Doyle, who won a silver medal in the 400m hurdles, joined Eilidh Barbour to conduct the draw for the Third Round of the competition. 32 sides were in the hat for Round Three as the SWPL and SWPL2 sides entered the competition, joining the 12 winners for the Second Round.

Holders Celtic were drawn away to Ayr United, with beaten finalists Rangers paired against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The other semi finalists in the 2022-23 competition, Glasgow City and Motherwell, will begin their cup campaigns against Rossvale WFC and Partick Thistle respectively.

The ties will be played on Sunday, 7 January 2024.

Speaking to the Scottish FA, Hearts supporter Doyle reflected on the draw and her return to the National Stadium. She said: "There was a few nerves about not being able to read the number right and I'm thankful Hearts at least got a home team anyway.

"I've got such fond memories of this stadium. This is probably one of my favourite stadiums and the memories from 2014 will never be topped and doing the lap of honour here - I will never forget it.

"It was an amazing time for Scotland, for the city and for Scottish sport and an amazing time for me.

"I don't think anybody expected the atmosphere. Every single session was full and the crowd was so behind the Scottish athletes.

"I remember being really nervous the night before, thinking that if I ran the way I should run, I should win a medal but when it's hurdles and you have to jump the barriers, you never know what can happen.

"For the track, I was one of the main hopes for the track so I remember in the build up I had to do a lot of media. I remember actually being on the roof here as well doing some promotion.

"I'd never really had that level of exposure before. It was surreal. There were posters all round Scotland and Glasgow and I remember my family being so nervous. But an amazing time.

"When I look back on my career, it was a good performance, it wasn't my best performance but doing a lap of honour in front of my home crowd at Hampden Park was something I'll never forget."

Doyle also picked out Hearts' 4-0 victory over Hibernian in the men's Scottish Cup competition in 2006 as her Hampden Park highlight as a supporter, adding: "I've got fond memories of football games here too.

"As a Hearts supporter, I missed the 2012 final because I was racing so my highlight would've been in 2006 - the Semi-final against Hibs and the Final against Gretna.

"I would probably pick the Semi-final because the final was too nerve-wracking."

The final of the Scottish Gas Women's Scottish Cup will take place at Hampden Park, once again, in May, and Doyle also pointed to the growth she has noticed in the women's game in this country even in her lifetime.  She said: "The momentum behind women's football is massive. I've got a young niece who will be ten next year and she loves going to watch football.

"Even noticing the difference between her growing up and myself in terms of the levels of exposure and what she is seeing, it's huge.

"It's great that it's going in that direction, it's in a good place and long may that continue."

Scottish Gas Women's Scottish Cup Third Round Draw

Ayr United v Celtic

Boroughmuir Thistle v Aberdeen

Dyce Women Football Club v Dundee United

East Fife v Renfrew Ladies

Glasgow Women v Spartans

Glenrothes Strollers v Gartcairn

Heart of Midlothian v Edinburgh Caledonia

Hibernian v St Johnstone

Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Rangers

Kilmarnock v Hamilton Academical

Livingston v Airdrie Ladies

Partick Thistle v Motherwell

Queen’s Park v Bonnyrigg Rose

Rossvale v Glasgow City

Stenhousemuir v Montrose

Westdyke v Stirling University

63 goals were scored across an action-packed Sunday of Scottish Gas Women's Scottish Cup Second Round action. With Renfrew Ladies already in the hat after Grampian Ladies' withdrawn, 11 other sides booked their place on Sunday.

Dyce Women Football Club and Glenrothes Strollers ensured there would be two sides who entered back in the Preliminary Round taking part in Round Three. Dyce defeated Championship outfit Edinburgh City 6-0 while Glenrothes surprised League One Falkirk, winning 2-0. Stenhousemuir were the day's high scorers, with eleven unanswered goals against Hutchison Vale.

The three highest ranked sides - Championship pacesetters Rossvale, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ayr United - all safely navigated their way past lower league opposition.