Scorers: Spartans - Mitchell (44), Seeley (50), Henretty (67); Queen's Park - Trouten (6), Weatherston (70)

SPARTANS are set to trade the earthy grandeur of City Park for a newly-built modern stadium next year.

The switch will bring the ambitious East of Scotland League side into line with the Scottish Football League's criteria and, they hope, provide a platform for entry into senior football at some time in the future. Their ramshackle current abode, though, has already earned its place in Scottish football folklore.

City Park and Spartans embody the essential components of Scottish Cup football, amply demonstrated once again in this victory over third division Queen's Park, which took them into the last 16 for the second time in three years.

The grassy banks around the pitch make it a natural amphitheatre for supporters, who can take in the action within jersey-pulling distance of their heroes, while the wickedly sloping pitch is the ultimate leveller - not quite jumpers for goalposts, but enough to make your average romantic go weak at the knees.

Throw in a wily manager, Mike Lawson, a fiercely committed, capable squad playing percentage football, and you have the blueprint for their scalp-happy cup journeys.

Two seasons ago they were top scorers in the cup with 18 goals, after seeing off Buckie Thistle, Alloa Athletic and Arbroath, though fourth-round Premierleague opponents Livingston proved a step too far.

Saturday's victory over their third division opponents proved to be another captivating chapter in their remarkable story, which has already witnessed the vanquishing of Berwick Rangers and Lossiemouth this season. An odd goal in five, scored by Donal Henretty in the second half, proved the difference between the two sides in what was a pulsating afternoon of cup football.

"That's the fourth football league scalp in a row we've taken, and we've beaten two Highland League teams. Bring them on, " chirped an ecstatic Lawson, who managed it all without the services of his top scorer, Keith McLeod, who missed out through personal reasons.

Lawson is the beating heart of the club, an excitable, infectious character whose touchline antics offered a diverting sideshow on Saturday. "Don't let the game settle . . . press them . . . keep it tight, " he screamed incessantly for the opening 45 minutes as his side set about hussling their league opponents out of their stride.

Billy Stark, meanwhile, cuts a more restrained figure. The former St Johnstone manager looked like he had been mugged afterwards, and in many ways his team had been, but it should not detract from the quietly impressive progress he continues to make with the young Hampden Park side, who are fifth in the third division, one point behind fourthplaced East Fife, over whom they have two games in hand. The Glasgow amateurs were unbeaten in their last four matches before Saturday, which made Spartans' performance all the more impressive.

Alan Trouten's seventhminute opener signalled Stark's side's early intent, but also stirred the home side into attack. Willie Bennett, Mark Burns and Henretty went close for Spartans, before they restored parity with the last kick of the first half. Bob Mitchell found himself in acres of space six yards out and steered the ball home.

Five minutes after the restart they took the lead. Craig Smart's corner found Jon Seeley, whose bouncing header beat David Crawford, the Queens keeper. An injury to on-song Daniel O'Donnell soon after led to a memorable substitution.

Unable to locate a jersey for his replacement, Dan Gerrard, Spartans were forced to play on with 10 men until one was retrieved from the dressing room.

"Right, on ye go, Dan, and don't forget to take yer hat off, " said Lawson to Gerrard, who was still sporting his woolly bunnet as he prepared to enter the fray.

Midway through the half, Spartans went further ahead. Henretty met a corner from the right at the front post to glance a header into the net. "We need another, " screamed Lawson, as his team poured forward searching for a fourth.

However, it was the visitors who managed to claw their way back into proceedings just three minutes later when David Weatherstone shot home from close range. Brian Felvus then had the chance to take the tie to a replay, but was foiled by Kevin Brown, the Spartans goalkeeper.

Moments later, they rolled off the slopes to celebrate with their heroes.