Betfred Cup draw throws up derby clash

Celtic won last season's Betfred League Cup. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Celtic won last season's Betfred League Cup. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
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Dundee will face Dundee United in the stand-out fixture of the 2017 Betfred Cup group stage.

It will be the first meeting of the city rivals since Dundee’s dramatic 2-1 victory at Tannadice in May 2016 confirmed United’s relegation to the Championship.

For newly confirmed Dundee manager Neil McCann, the game will form an intriguing part of his start in the job on a permanent basis next month.

Dundee and Dundee United are joined in Group C by Raith Rovers, Cowdenbeath and Highland League champions Buckie Thistle. The derby fixture, on a date and at a venue which will be confirmed early next week, is certain to be selected for live television coverage by BT Sport who again have exclusive rights to the revamped League Cup competition.

Last night’s draw also held the prospect of an Edinburgh derby but that failed to materialise as Hearts and Hibs found themselves in separate groups.

The Gorgie club, who will have to play their home games at a reduced capacity Tynecastle while construction continues on the new main stand at Tynecastle, will face Dunfermline, Peterhead, East Fife and Elgin City in Group B.

Hibs are in Group D where their fixtures will include a rematch of the 2015-16 final against Ross County who defeated them 2-1 at Hampden in that match. Completing the group are Alloa, Arbroath and Montrose.

In Group A, 2015 Scottish Cup finalists Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Falkirk are joined by Brechin City, Forfar Athletic and Stirling Albion. There is an Ayrshire derby in Group E which sees Kilmarnock and Ayr United bracketed with Dumbarton, Clyde and Annan Athletic.

Lowland League champions East Kilbride, who lost out on penalties in the League Two play-off final last month, make their debut in the competition in Group G where they will play Hamilton Accies, Queen of the South, Albion Rovers and Stenhousemuir.

Group F sees Motherwell and Morton joined by Edinburgh City, Berwick Rangers and Queen’s Park, while the line-up is completed in Group H by Partick Thistle, St Mirren, Airdrie, Livingston and Stranraer.

The teams in each group play each other once over five match dates on 15, 18/19, 22, 25/26 and 29 July, subject to live TV selections by BT Sport. The format sees drawn matches in the group stage go to a penalty shoot-out after 90 minutes with the winners receiving a bonus point.

The eight group winners and the four best-placed runners-up will progress to the last 16 knockout stage on 8/9 August where they will be joined by Scotland’s four European club competition representatives - St Johnstone, Rangers, Aberdeen and current Betfred Cup holders Celtic.

The Scottish Professional Football League expect to publish the full list of group stage fixtures, including BT Sport’s live games, next week. This year’s final will take place at Hampden on 26 November.