The newco club, who came out the hat as ‘The Rangers’, have been admitted into the Third Division for the upcoming season and enter the League Cup at the first-round stage for the first time since 1978.
The match at Ibrox was due to take place on 4 August, although it is likely to be moved back to the Sunday, as Celtic are set to kick-off their SPL campaign at home to Aberdeen on the same day. The Fifers clash will be Rangers’ first home game of the new campaign as they look to adjust to life in the bottom tier of Scottish football. Dundee, who were selected by the SPL to replace Rangers in the top-flight, also enter at the first-round stage and have been drawn against Third Division outfit Peterhead, although that game is set to be staged the previous midweek, as Dundee begin their SPL campaign at Kilmarnock on the Saturday.
Meanwhile, First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the Government were making a “declaration of faith” in Scottish footbal with a £1.7 million backing of the competition. Last season’s competition was also backed by Holyrood, but this year’s sponsorship has been increased by £700,000. More than half of that increase has come from the Cashback for Communities programme, where funds seized from criminals will be given to the clubs to use for community initiatives such as the building of sports hubs as well as tackling youth unemployment. Salmond said: “It is a big sponsorship deal and it is a declaration of faith in the game after a summer where a lot of negativity has been paramount. Some of that negativity has been with good cause and it is never easy to make declarations like this with public spending, however our Cashback for Communities programme is running extremely well. There have been plenty of confiscation orders and that has allowed us to do something positive for the communities of Scotland.”
Despite a turbulent summer Salmond is hopeful that better times lay ahead for football as he added: “If everyone can put their shoulder to the wheel then at the end of this season we may well see a lot of positives for Scottish Football.” Any help I can give with broadcasters I will give, but I do want the government to get involved in the running of the game. That is for the football authorities to do but enhancing our sponsorship of this competition is a step forward.”
Salmond added: “This is not being done for charity, it is being done because the competition was a great success last year and we have added to the backing for the competition we gave last year.”
The First Minister carried out the draw alongside former SFA Head of Youth, Ross Mathie, and paired East Fife, managed by former Rangers striker Gordon Durie, with the team referred to as ‘The Rangers FC’ by SFL Chief David Longmuir when the number 30 ball was drawn out.
Queen of the South v Alloa
Stranraer v Livingston
Raith Rovers v Berwick Rangers
Peterhead v Dundee
Stenhousemuir v Brechin City
Montrose v Cowdenbeath
Ayr United v Clyde
Queen’s Park v Airdrie United
Dumbarton v Albion Rovers
Forfar Athletic v Partick Thistle
Falkirk v Elgin City
The Rangers v East Fife
Hamilton Academical v Annan
East Stirlingshire v Morton
Arbroath v Stirling Albion
Ties to be played on Saturday, 4 August except Peterhead v Dundee, 31 July or 1 August