Premier Sports Cup draw explained: Who Hibs, Livingston, Edinburgh City and Bonnyrigg Rose could get and how to watch

Hibs, Livingston, Edinburgh City and Bonnyrigg Rose will discover who they will face in the group stage of the 2022/23 Premier Sports Cup when the draw takes place on Wednesday afternoon. Here’s all you need to know:

Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 11:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 12:10 pm

WHEN IS THE DRAW?

The draw for the group stage will be made on Wednesday, May 25, at 1pm.

HOW TO DO I WATCH?

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The Premier Sports Cup will be won when final takes place in February 2023, but the group stage will kick-off the new season in July. Picture: SNS

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:

Pot 1

1 Ross County
2 Livingston
3 Hibernian
4 St Mirren
5 Aberdeen
6 St Johnstone
7 Dundee
8 Kilmarnock

Pot 2

9 Arbroath
10 Inverness CT
11Patrick Thistle
12 Raith Rovers
13 Hamilton Accies
14 Morton
15 Ayr United
16 Dunfermline Athletic

Pot 3

17 Queen of the South
18 Cove Rangers
19 Airdrieonians
20 Montrose
21 Queen’s Park
22 Alloa Athletic
23 Falkirk
24 Peterhead

Pot 4

25 Clyde
26 Dumbarton
27 East Fife
28 Kelty Hearts
29 Forfar Athletic
30 Annan Athletic
31 Edinburgh City
32 Stenhousemuir

Pot 5

33 Stranraer
34 Stirling Albion
35 Albion Rovers
36 Elgin City
37 Cowdenbeath
38 Bonnyrigg Rose
39 Fraserburgh
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.

Group stage

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

Knockout rounds

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