Celtic's stuttering season is teetering on the brink of failure with everything hinging on their Scottish Cup clash with Kilmarnock at the weekend.
Tony Mowbray's men trail city rivals Rangers by 13 points at the summit of the Scottish Premier League table and their title charge is starting to fizzle out.
And although the former West Brom manager refuses to give up on their league campaign, the cup remains arguably their best chance of salvaging some pride and silverware this term.
The recent Old Firm defeat at Ibrox has also been touted by the majority of pundits north of the border as the final nail in Celtic's ailing title tilt.
So with the pressure beginning to grow, the Hoops won't exactly be relishing a trip to Ayrshire to face a rejuvenated Kilmarnock in their quarter-final Scottish Cup clash. To add further spice to the tie, it comes a little over five weeks after Celtic lost at Rugby Park, a crushing result in terms of their championship ambitions.
However, there is some good news ahead of the match for Celtic, with loan star Chris Maguire, who shot them down in that league game, cup tied for the fixture.
The striker, who has been farmed out to Killie until the end of the season from Aberdeen, is ruled out due to a 22-minute fourth-round appearance against Hearts.
Celtic fanatic Maguire, who recently picked up the Young Player of the Month award following his three goals in February, will be left to watch on from the stands this weekend, be he remains philosophical about the setback. "It's disappointing to miss out against Celtic but I'm happy to be recognised with the Young Player of the Month award," he said.
Despite his recent run of impressive form, the 21-year-old was unable to stop Rangers in their midweek clash - a result that extended the gap to 13 points at the top of the table.
Killie may have lost their latest league fixture at home to the Light Blues, which has simply further added to Celtic's woes, but they are still in confident mood ahead of the cup clash against the green half of Glasgow.
There's little doubt Calderwood, who replaced Jim Jefferies, has injected a fresh belief into his new team and will demand an instant response following their defeat when they face Celtic. The charismatic manager is understandably disappointed to be without Maguire but simply sees it as another chance for others to shine.
Mowbray has selection troubles of his own, particularly with a raft of defensive injury problems that have caused him the biggest headaches, so it's inevitable he will look to Robbie Keane to carry the hopes of the Hoops faithful in a match they can ill afford to lose.
Keane hasn't found it that easy following his high-profile loan move from Tottenham but, after notching a brace in last weekend's 2-0 victory over Falkirk, he is certainly now starting to show his class in the SPL and will be looking to further justify his reported £65,000 weekly wage packet on cup duty.
The Kilmarnock back four, likely to be guided by Scott Severin, may have shut Keane out on his debut in their earlier encounter but they'll find him a tougher proposition this time round. He now looks to have developed an understanding with his new team-mates, who now appreciate his style making him an even more dangerous opponent.
But while the media interest may surround the Ayrshire cup tie there could yet be two First Division teams in the Scottish Cup semi-finals following an interesting draw. Dundee host giant-killers Raith Rovers, who sent Aberdeen crashing out of the competition in the previous round.
Jocky Scott's men will be the favourites to boss the encounter and continue their quest for glory on two fronts as they also chase promotion to the top flight.
Highlanders Ross County will also fly the flag for the First Division clubs when they travel to Easter Road to face Hibs. County boss Derek Adams will be out to further enhance his growing credentials when he takes his side to the capital.
His side still remain in the hunt for league success although they trail the Dark Blues by six points with a game in hand.
Adams is fast beginning to establish himself as one of the brightest managerial talents in Scotland as he works wonders on a very limited budget.
In the final tie, Rangers play host to Dundee United in another all-SPL tie that catches the eye, with the treble-chasers likely to come up against stiff resistance.
The Tannadice team have now regrouped since losing Craig Levein to the Scotland job with Peter Houston beginning to stamp his authority on the post.
But even Smith and Houston will be interested spectators to see if Celtic can keep their season alive.