Celtic under-20s the ‘hardest draw’ of Irn-Bru Cup

Annan Athletic manager Jim Chapman believes his team couldnt have landed a tougher draw. Picture: SNS

Annan Athletic manager Jim Chapman believes his team couldnt have landed a tougher draw. Picture: SNS

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Annan Athletic manager Jim Chapman reckons his side are the underdogs against Celtic under-20s at Cappielow in the South section of the Irn-Bru Cup as most of his squad are younger than their opponents.

Chapman said: “We may be the senior club but we have a very young squad. A lot of our players joined in the summer and are learning all the time. We picked up our first win at the weekend when we defeated East Stirlinshire but I see us as second favourites for this tie.

“It is probably the hardest draw any side could have had as the top young talent goes to the top clubs and Celtic are very strong at under-20 level.”

Queen’s Park will return from a training camp in St Andrews to face Kilmarnock U20s at Hampden with head coach Gus MacPherson saying: “We were not able to get the squad together in the summer but we were finally able to do it at the weekend by leaving straight after our game against Partick Thistle.

“It has been a different type of build-up to a game for the players.”

Clyde manager Barry Ferguson is a veteran of many Glasgow derbies from his time with Rangers and he gets the first taste of an alternative clash when his Bully Wee side take on Partick Thistle U20s at Broadwood.

Ferguson said: “This game will have an edge to it.”

Berwick will look for their first win when they host 
Spartans. Manager John Coughlin said: “We had a tough pre-season and a tough Betfred Cup group, so it would be good to get a win before the league starts.”

Edinburgh City continue their build-up to their first season as a senior club by 
playing Youth Cup holders Motherwell U20s at Fir Park. Said manager Gary Jardine: “We have learned a lot already but this is a different type of challenge.”

Stirling Albion goalkeeper Chris Smith will miss out against Hearts U20s due to the head injury he suffered during Saturday’s 4-0 defeat by St Johnstone.

Manager Stuart McLaren said: “We will be guided by the club doctor over when Chris can come back. There will be no rush as Cammy Binnie is an able deputy.”

In the North section of the draw, Aberdeen U20s have been told that they will be knocked out if they adopt a “big-time” attitude when they travel to Formartine.

Dons youth boss Paul 
Sheerin said: “This will be a tremendous experience but if the players go out with a ‘Big-Time Charlie’ attitude, a very experienced Formartine side will put them in their place.”

Arbroath head north for the second time in three days and the Red Lichties are looking to do better against Inverness Caledonian Thistle U20s than they did in the Betfred Cup against the Highlanders’ first team.

After a weakened Gayfield side went down 7-0 on Saturday, manager Dick Campbell
said: “We have Ricky Little and Martin Scott available after bans and Michael 
Dunlop could return after injury. It will be tough as we are facing an energetic side that will be out to make an impression.”

Brora boss Grant Munro is on holiday as his side visit his old club to play Ross County U20s. Assistant manager Steven McDonald said: “We will be tested in this game.”

Ross Jack is looking for an improved performance from his Turriff side when they face St Johnstone U20s after an insipid 2-0 defeat at Wick Academy in their opening Highland League fixture on Saturday.

Jack said: “We have had a bit of a rebuild over the summer but we cannot use that as an excuse. We did not play well and I am glad that we have the chance to put it right so 
quickly.”

Cove Rangers will look to bounce back from Saturday’s 7-0 Betfred Cup defeat at Ross County against Dundee U20s. Manager John Sheran said: “We now face a different type of challenge but if we pass the ball in the manner as when we defeated Montrose 3-0 then we have a chance.”

East Stirlingshire continue their build-up to their maiden Lowland League season with a game against a Montrose side still reeling from that defeat by Cove. Links Park manager Paul Hegarty said: “That was very disappointing and I am looking for a reaction.”

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