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Although it is the second oldest competition in the history of association football after the English FA Cup, the Scottish Cup trophy is the oldest in association football and also the oldest national cup in the world. It was first awarded to Queen's Park, who won the final of the first tournament in March 1874.
The lowest-ranked clubs take part in the preliminary round, while the highest-ranked clubs playing in the Scottish Premiership take part in the fourth round in January.
The competition is a knockout tournament. In each round of matches, teams are randomly paired with the team drawn first being listed as the home team. Each match lasts 90 minutes plus any injury time.
The winner of each match advances to the next round, while the loser is eliminated from the tournament. If a match ended in a draw before the fourth round, it was replayed at a later date before the fourth round at the other team's home stadium.
If the replay also ended in a draw, the winner was determined by a penalty shoot-out. From the fourth round onwards, there was no replay in the event of a draw, but 30 minutes of extra time was played, followed by a penalty shoot-out if there was still no winner.
Following a vote by the Scottish FA member clubs in August 2022, it was decided that for the 2022-23 competition there would be no replays after the preliminary round, and from the first round onwards extra time and penalty shoot-out would be used to decide the winner of drawn games.
The competition has a staggered entry system. For the 2022-23 edition, the preliminary round will be contested by 50 clubs. Eighteen clubs from the Highland League and sixteen from the Lowland League will start in the first round. Ten clubs from Scottish League Two move into the second round. Clubs from Scottish League One and the Scottish Championship start in the third round, while 12 clubs from the Scottish Premiership compete in the fourth round.