WHEN IS THE DRAW?
The draw for the group stage will be made on Wednesday, May 25, at 1pm.
HOW TO DO I WATCH?
The draw will be shown live by Premier Sports via its FreeSports channel. FreeSports is available on Freeview HD channel 65, Sky HD channel 422, Virgin HD 553, TalkTalk 64, BT Vision channel 64 and is also available via Samsung TV Player and on the FreeSports Player.
WHO IS IN THE HAT?
Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Motherwell and Dundee United all qualified for Europe and therefore miss the group stage. They receive a bye into the last-16 knockout round. The group stage draw will involve the other 37 SPFL clubs from 2021/22, Cowdenbeath included, plus Highland League champions Fraserburgh and Lowland League champions Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic. The additional slot will be taken by Highland League runners-up Buckie Thistle, following a decision by the SPFL board, as the Lowland League were given the extra place last season.
WHAT IS THE FORMAT?
The 40 clubs will be drawn into eight groups of five on a seeded basis. One club from each pot will be drawn into Groups A-H. There are five seeding pots based on 2021/21 league positions. Following a recommendation from the SPFL competitions working group, regionalisation has been removed for 2022/23, after six years of the North/South split in the group stage. The eight group winners and three best runners-up will join the five European entrants in the last 16 of the tournament at the end of August.
BEST DRAW POSSIBILITIES?
Bonnyrigg Rose are in the competition for the first time after winning the Lowland League and the group stage will provide the Midlothian side with a rigorous warm-up for their inaugural SPFL League 2 campaign. Given that the draw is seeded, it is possible that one of the groups could include Hibs, Dunfermline, Falkirk, Edinburgh City and Bonnyrigg Rose. Plenty of local derbies if that were to happen. Bonnyrigg could also get Livingston or Aberdeen.
WHAT ARE THE SEEDINGS?
Seeding pots and numbers have been confirmed by the SPFL. They have simply been done on 2021/22 league position:
|1 Ross County|
|4 St Mirren|
|6 St Johnstone|
|10 Inverness CT|
|12 Raith Rovers|
|13 Hamilton Accies|
|15 Ayr United|
|16 Dunfermline Athletic|
|17 Queen of the South|
|18 Cove Rangers|
|21 Queen’s Park|
|22 Alloa Athletic|
|27 East Fife|
|28 Kelty Hearts|
|29 Forfar Athletic|
|30 Annan Athletic|
|31 Edinburgh City|
|34 Stirling Albion|
|35 Albion Rovers|
|36 Elgin City|
|38 Bonnyrigg Rose|
|40 Buckie Thistle|
WHEN ARE THE GAMES?
The group stage matches will kick off on the weekend of July 9/10 and will conclude on July 23/24 after two midweek slots on July 12/13 and July 19/20. Hearts enter along with the other European participants in the second round on August 30/31. Due to changes to the calendar caused by the winter World Cup in Qatar, the Premier Sports Cup semi-finals will take place in January and the final is scheduled for Sunday February 26.
|Matchday 1||Weekend of July 9/10|
|Matchday 2||Midweek of July 12/13|
|Matchday 3||Weekend of July 16/17|
|Matchday 4||Midweek of July 19/20|
|Matchday 5||Weekend of July 23/24|
|Second round||Midweek of August 30/31, 2022|
|Quarter-finals||Midweek of October 18-20, 2022|
|Semi-finals||Weekend of January 14/15, 2023|
|Final||Sunday February 26, 2023|