Respecting your opponents is one of the fundamental rules of any sport, not just in football.

Shocks and upsets are part of the sporting formula that keeps spectators and supporters coming back time after time. The phrase ‘magic of the cup’ is shared on both sides of the border between Scotland and England, as their respective competitions have served up their fair share of shocks over the years. Just ask Liam Scales, who was on the receiving end of one of the biggest shocks in Scottish Cup history last season, when Darvel put out Aberdeen under Jim Goodwin.

Barring a seismic collapse of unparalleled magnitude, Celtic will cruise through to the next round of the competition after their match against Buckie Thistle. It is important to take any opposition seriously, given the success and quality they have shown to get this far in the tournament, but Celtic should have too much for their Highland League opposition on the day, or any day for that matter. No two ways about it, anything other than a comprehensive win would be a disaster for the Scottish Cup holders.

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Still, it looks to be an exciting cup tie that many will tune in for, perhaps hoping that David will slay Goliath in footballing terms. For Celtic, it presents an opportunity to build upon the momentum that they were building up before the winter break. Following their dismal 2-0 defeat to Hearts at home, Brendan Rodgers’ side went on a run of four straight wins, conceding just one solitary goal in the process. Indeed, big wins against Livingston, Dundee and especially Rangers in the Glasgow Derby signified an upturn in Celtic’s form over the festive period.

After all, Celtic have a new body to integrate into proceedings in the form of Nicolas Kühn, who joined the club this week from Rapid Vienna. The attacking player suggested that Sunday may be too soon to throw him into the team, but a substitute appearance can’t hurt him, surely, especially against lower-league opposition. He has been an ever-present for Rapid this campaign, so he will be up to speed, regardless of his acclimatisation with his surroundings and the rest of his teammates.

Many supporters would have been hoping for more than one new face to witness following the conclusion of the winter break, though reinforcements seem to be getting worked on for late arrivals this window. These new additions will in turn put pressure on the existing players, who may feel the competition breathing down their necks in the process.

One of these players may be Liel Abada, who has recently returned to the team following a lengthy hamstring injury. With Daizen Maeda away at the Asia Cup, it looks as if the Israel international will have the yellow jersey for Celtic’s first Scottish Cup tie of the season unless Rodgers decides to throw Kühn straight in from the off. The exact same scenario may be the case in the middle of the park, as Bernardo looks to have a clear run at starting once again due to the international exploits of Reo Hatate in the number eight position.

Bernardo’s emergence in Celtic’s midfield has been a slow burner this campaign, but the catalyst seemed to be his start against Livingston, followed by his performance at Dens Park against Dundee. He proved his worth in the next game against Rangers – scoring his second goal in as many games – before providing two assists against St Mirren in the last game before the break. Buckie Thistle at home presents the Portugal U21 stalwart with an opportunity to continue his fine run of form, as he looks to be a major player moving into the business end of the season.

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Celtic’s biggest player – at least on paper – is in need of a sustained run of goalscoring appearances, despite his heroics against Rangers in the Glasgow Derby just before the league was paused. A superstar under his previous manager Ange Postecoglou, Kyogo Furuhashi has blown hot and cold thus far, though his big game goalscoring exploits are unquestionable at this stage. Though this clash will not fall into that same category, Kyogo has a chance to rack up a few more goals to his scoring totals this season. Realistically, those Buckie Thistle players will not come up against a better forward than the Japan international for the rest of their careers, so they will be hoping to keep Celtic’s main man at bay during proceedings on Sunday afternoon.

Putting their name into the hat for the next round of the cup is the most important thing, but putting on a show will also be high on Rodgers and his players’ minds. The conundrum of respectability comes into play regarding scorelines on the day – given the gap between the two sides – but Celtic should pay no attention to this. The holders should treat their opponents like they would any other team that they come up against, regardless of the competition. If a high-scoring affair can be achieved against the Highland League outfit then the club should not hold back in their pursuit of goals.

This is where rotation could come into play, as players’ game-time could be managed effectively in-game. If the game is over as a contest, then Rodgers may be tempted to shuffle his pack and give those in need of some exposure the chance to get minutes on the park. Granted, all of the players have been away on their mid-season break, but there may be players in more need of a clean slate in the side than some of the usual suspects. If ever there was a time for rotation, then Sunday may very well be it.

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Understandably, there is a lot of excitement surrounding this game, with Buckie Thistle currently playing four divisions below their hosts. Anyone not associated with or of a Celtic persuasion will want the underdogs to topple the giants, but it is up to the home side to make sure nothing of the sort happens. We've entered the business end of the season, after all.

It is time for Celtic to kick into gear and retain two of the trophies that they won last season under Postecoglou. The second of those defences start on Sunday afternoon in Glasgow, and there is no room for complacency whatsoever. They know what they must do.