Craig Levein believes Hearts legend John Robertson will be utterly determined to beat his former club in the Betfred League Cup.
The north section of the group stage draw last night paired Levein’s side with Robertson’s Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Group C. Raith Rovers and Cowdenbeath, two of Levein’s former employers, are also in the section alongside Highland League winners Cove Rangers.
Levein told the Evening News he welcomes the prospect of facing off against Robertson. “I think it’s a good draw and there are some interesting things,” he said.
“Cowdenbeath and Raith are two of my former clubs. Robbo is just back in management and he’s drawn Hearts. I’m sure he’ll be absolutely determined to win that game.”
Hearts and Inverness recently agreed a player swap, with Tynecastle midfielder Angus Beith heading north and Inverness winger Jake Mulraney joining up at Tynecastle for next season.
Betfred Cup group matches begin on July 14, but Levein hopes to avoid a trip to the Highlands when the fixtures and TV selections are announced next week.
“It will depend where we have to play. If we have to go to Inverness, that will be the trickiest of the fixtures I’m sure. We will wait and see how that pans out once we get the fixtures,” he said.
Hearts will be eager to atone for last summer’s Betfred Cup campaign, which saw them eliminated at the group phase. They beat Elgin City away and East Fife at home before losing away to Peterhead. Their final section match ended in a draw against Dunfermline, who then won on penalties to seal the fate of former Hearts head coach Ian Cathro.
Levein explained that progress to the latter stage of the tournament is very much a priority. “There are only three major competitions you can win – the league and the two national cups. We can’t afford to do anything else other than give it everything we’ve got,” he said.
“That’s what we’ll try to do during pre-season. We will aim to get players as fit as possible in the time we have available. Hopefully we can get off to a good start.”
Premiership newcomers Livingston were drawn in Group F alongside Hamilton, Berwick Rangers, Airdrie and Annan Athletic. Edinburgh City joined Motherwell, Queen of the South, Clyde and Stranraer in Group G. Lowland League Spartans were placed in Group H with Kilmarnock, St Mirren, Dumbarton and Queen’s Park.