Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine is excited to begin next season after the SPFL new boys landed Hamilton Accies as the Premiership side in the Betfred League Cup draw.
St Mirren, Livingston and Ayr United make up the rest of their group G opponents, with home and away fixtures still to be determined.
The reformatted competition sees eight groups of five teams play each other once, with two home and two away fixtures respectively. The eight group winners and eight best runners-up progress to the knock-out rounds, where Celtic, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs will enter.
Jardine aims to treat the Meadowbank club’s first involvement in the competition as a learning experience. “Every single day since we got promoted has been learning experience,” he said. “When July comes round that learning experience is going to hit us hard in the face, but we’re working hard to be ready for and the League Cup is just such an exciting way to start the season.
“Over the last couple of years, playing league sides in pre-season has prepared us well for the challenge ahead in trying to get promoted, so this gives pre-season an extra edge. Teams will be going for a win and the new set up has hopefully given the league cup a lift.”
Group F included a glamour tie with Rangers, and Jardine admitted he was pleased to see East Stirlingshire, who take City’s place in the Lowland League after their play-off defeat, land the plum tie with the Glasgow giants, along with a meeting with Motherwell. “I was actually at a work function and only caught the end of the draw,” he said. “I’m absolutely delighted for East Stirlingshire getting Rangers – they deserve some kind of good news since going down. For us, everything that’s happening just now is just so exciting and we’re really looking forward to it.
“It doesn’t matter where we play Hamilton or St Mirren. To be involved in league football was a dream for everybody, and now that dream’s come to reality we’re going to enjoy every minute of it.”
South Section: Group E: Partick Thistle, Queen of the South, Stenhousemuir, Queen’s Park, Airdrieonians. Group F: Motherwell Rangers, Stranraer, East Stirlingshire, Annan Ath. Group G: Hamilton Acc, St Mirren, Edinburgh City, Livingston, Ayr Utd. Group H: Kilmarnock, Morton, Berwick Rangers, Albion Rovers, Clyde.
North Section: Group A: Dundee, Dumbarton, Peterhead, Forfar Ath, East Fife. Group B: St Johnstone, Falkirk, Brechin City, Stirling Albion, Elgin City. Group C: Inverness CT, Dundee Utd, Dunfermline Ath, Arbroath, Cowdenbeath. Group D: Ross County, Raith Rovers, Alloa Ath, Cove Rangers, Montrose.