Highland duo enter new Ramsdens Cup

Deveronvale manager Scott Anderson and Buckie Thistle vice-president Garry Farquhar with the Ramsdens Cup
Deveronvale and Buckie will both take part in the first round

The Scottish Football League's tournament for clubs outwith the Scottish Premier League has a new sponsor and will involve teams from the Highland League for the first time.

The Challenge Cup, which had been backed by BBC ALBA for three years, will become the Ramsdens Cup in a one-year deal with the UK-wide pawnbroking and financial services business.

Buckie Thistle and Deveronvale, the top two in last season's Highland League, will take part and both have been drawn against Second Division opposition.

While champions Buckie are away to Forfar Athletic, Deveronvale will host relegated Stirling Albion, in the first round, to be played on Saturday 23 July.

SFL clubs recently rejected a Scottish Premier League suggestion to regionalise Divisions Two and Three as part of a pyramid structure proposed for the professional game in the country.

But SFL chief executive David Longmuir said of the Highland League clubs' participation: "This invitation demonstrates the SFL's commitment to supporting the SFA's club licensing process and furthermore underlines the SFL's willingness to look at Scottish football as a whole."

Longmuir also welcomed the addition of the new sponsor.

"We will now work together to create excitement and value to one of Scottish football's best-loved competitions," he said.

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

It is the second change of sponsor for SFL competitions this summer, with Co-operative Insurance having ended its 12-year association with the League Cup.

The SFL's premier knock-out competition has become the Scottish Communites League Cup in a £1m one-year deal, with funding coming from cash seized from criminals through the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Ramsdens commercial director Colin McLauchlin added: "The Ramsdens Cup is a great opportunity for us as we are a community-based business and we look forward to getting closer to our customers and working with the individual clubs as they progress through the competition."

The first round of the Ramsdens Cup features eight ties in two regional draws that surprisingly feature only a couple of local derbies, both in the north/east section.

Raith Rovers host Cowdenbeath, now managed by Kirkcaldy-born former Stark's Park midfielder Colin Cameron, while Dundee make the short journey to face Arbroath.

Holders Ross County host Division Three outfit Elgin City.

The south/west draw features the only all-First Division clash, with promoted Ayr United hosting beaten finalists Queen of the South.

Hamilton Academical, relegated from the Scottish Premier League, travel to Hampden Park to face Third Division side Queen's Park.

Ramsdens Cup first-round draw


Arbroath v Dundee

Brechin City v Falkirk

Deveronvale v Stirling Albion

Forfar Athletic v Buckie Thistle

Montrose v East Fife

Peterhead v Alloa Athletic

Raith Rovers v Cowdenbeath

Ross County v Elgin City


Airdrie United v Livingston

Albion Rovers v Annan Athletic

Ayr United v Queen of the South

Clyde v Berwick Rangers

Dumbarton v East Stirlingshire

Partick Thistle v Stenhousemuir

Queen's Park v Hamilton Academical

Stranraer v Morton

Ties to be played Saturday, 23 July

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