Scottish Cup place is the carrot dangled by Leith Athletic

Leith Athletic coach Derek Riddel

Leith Athletic coach Derek Riddel

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Leith Athletic manager Derek Riddel says he is using this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup venture as an incentive to stiffen up the competition for places throughout his squad.

The reigning East of Scotland champions kick-start the defence of their title tomorrow when Tweedmouth Rangers come calling to Meadowbank 3G.

Leith were paired with Cumbernauld Colts in Monday’s Scottish Cup first-round draw and are likely to play the tie at Spartans’ Ainslie Park on Sunday, September 25.

Riddel’s men have already come through two preliminary rounds to reach this stage and the head coach believes the glamour of these fixtures can only spur his players on to greater things.

“The reason we’re playing in the Scottish Cup is because we did so well in the league last season so if we don’t win the league this year then we don’t get to play in the Scottish Cup. It’s as simple as that really,” Riddel said. “There’s only one place available so we need to make sure we get the season off to a flier tomorrow.

“There are guys playing for their places in the Scottish Cup so if we can use that as a carrot to dangle in front of them then that can only benefit us.

“Cumbernauld are a good side and they were one of the sides we would rather have avoided. But we’ve got them at home so it could have been a lot worse with some of the other teams in the hat and the distances involved with that.”

Heriot-Watt University will be hoping to register their first three points on the board when Peebles Rovers pay a visit to Riccarton. Last year’s runners-up Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale make the trip to Coldstream and, in the Alex Jack Cup, Tynecastle host Eyemouth United at Saughton Enclosure.

Ormiston play Burntisland Shipyard in their final League Cup Group A fixture.