Celtic and Rangers Colts to be joined by ten other B teams in SPFL Trust trophy
The pair, who are in the process of joining the Lowland League, participated in the competition’s last four seasons – and will be joined by ten colts or B teams from the remaining SPFL Premiership sides for season 2021-22.
They won’t, however, be joined by teams from the League of Ireland, English National League, NIFL Premiership and Cymru Premier this year.
SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “With the competition having been cancelled last season due to Covid-19, we are delighted to announce the dates and format of the SPFL Trust Trophy for Season 2021/22.
“With the pandemic still impacting our everyday lives, and with the need to reduce unnecessary travel across the British Isles, the competition will be limited to Scottish teams only next season. I would like to thank our friends in the English National League, the League of Ireland, the Cymru Premier and the NIFL Premiership for their forbearance while we all work together to get through the pandemic.
“I would like, once again, to thank the SPFL Trust, James Anderson and the other donors who have all come together to support this unique competition for season 2021/22.”
What is the SPFL Trust Trophy?
It’s the new name of the Scottish League Challenge Cup – last known as the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup and previously sponsored by Ramsdens, Petrofac, Irn-Bru and – going away back - B&Q.
It was created in 1990 as a competition for teams outside the Scottish top flight but recent revamps have also introduced lower league teams from England as well as invited clubs from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales, plus B-teams from clubs higher up the Scottish league ladder.
Who are the reigning champions?
Inverness Caledonian and Raith Rovers were awarded the win from 2019-20 after reaching the final which was unable to be played due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Falkirk have won the competition most – four times – with the last coming under Steven Pressley in 2012. Airdrieonians have also won the competition three times plus in 2008 when known as Airdrie United.
What about this year?
With just Scottish participants, the format will be regionalised early on, and seeded.
The teams involved will be B-teams from the Premiership clubs, the 30 teams from the SPFL Championship, League One and League Two plus four sides each from the Highland and Lowland League.
The first round will see the Colts and eight sides from outwith the SPFL structure joined by 16 league teams based on league finish – from Falkirk fifth in League One and below.
The teams who finished in the League One play-off positions and above into the Championship will join the winners of the 18 ties in round two.
A further knock-out round will be played to decide the quarter-final participants and onwards to the final which will be played on April 2 or April 3, 2022.
When will the other games be played?
Games will be midweek apart from two international windows in September and October.
R1 – August 10/11
R2 – September 4/5
R3 – October 9/10
QF – November 30 & December 1
SF – March 1/2 2022
Final – April 2/3 2022