City secure home draws in early season cup ties

THERE was home joy for Brechin City in the opening rounds of the two early-season cup tournaments (writes Alan Ducat).

The competitive action will get underway on Saturday, July 23 when the reds play host to first division Falkirk in the opening round of the Ramsdens Cup, formerly the Alba Challenge Cup.

The following Saturday, July 30, will see Brechin City entertain Clyde in the first round of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

The format of the former, named after new sponsors, Ramsdens, a company with a significant presence in the high street in Scotland with 26 stores, most of which are based in and around our football towns and communities, follows that of last year.

However, there are two new sides from the Highland League, champions Buckie Thistle and runners-up Deveronvale, making up the 32 teams.

The opening round will be played in a regional format, with the full first round draw as follows:-

North-East draw:- Brechin City v Falkirk; Raith Rovers v Cowdenbeath; Forfar Athletic v Buckie Thistle; Peterhead v Alloa Athletic; Ross County v Elgin City; Montrose v East Fife; Deveronvale v Stirling Albion; Arbroath v Dundee.

South-West draw:- Clyde v Berwick Rangers; Airdrie United v Livingston; Partick Thistle v Stenhousemuir; Ayr United v Queen of the South; Stranraer v Morton; Dumbarton v East Stirlingshire; Queen’s Park v Hamilton Accies; Albion Rovers v Annan Athletic.

Ramsdens, the family-owned company which has entered into an initial one year deal with The Scottish Football League, is the largest independently-owned pawn-broking and financial services business in the UK and offers a range of services such as pawn-broking, gold buying, foreign currency and payday loans.

MG Alba were previous sponsors of the cup over the past three years.

BBC Alba, the Gaelic television channel, will now become the SFL’s broadcast partner in a new and exciting relationship.

Meanwhile, the full draw for the first round of the Scottish Communites League Cup is as follows:-

Queen of the South v Stranraer; Annan Athletic v Dunfermline Athletic; Partick Thistle v Berwick Rangers; Dumbarton v Dundee; Brechin City v Clyde; Montrose v Raith Rovers; Livingston v Arbroath; Albion Rovers v Falkirk; Forfar Athletic v Peterhead; Alloa Athletic v Morton; Cowdenbeath v Stenhousemuir; Airdrie United v Stirling Albion; East Fife v Elgin City; East Stirlingshire v Ayr United; Ross County v Queen’s Park.

Ahead of the opening competitive fixtures of 2010-2011, Brechin City are currently working on a schedule of pre-season friendly matches, with a number of games already fixed up.

The first of the games will be on Tuesday, July 5, when SPL new boys Dunfermline Athletic visit the Glebe.

City will then head north on Saturday, July 9, to face last season’s High League champions, Buckie Thistle, a team they defeated in last season’s memorable Scottish Cup sojourn.

On Tuesday, July 19, Brechin will be on their travels again, to take on Polock Juniors.

More pre-season friendlies are in the pipeline and full details will be announced once final arrangements have been confirmed with the clubs involved.