Scottish League Cup: Two all-Premiership encounters in group stage draw

Celtic won the Scottish League Cup in 2017
Celtic clinched the Scottish League Cup in 2016 and 2017

Inverness manager John Robertson will meet former side Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish League Cup group stage.

Hearts, of the Premiership, face Championship Caley Thistle in Group C.

There will be all-Premiership encounters between Hamilton Academical and Livingston in Group F, and in Group H, between Kilmarnock and St Mirren.

Cup holders Celtic, Aberdeen, Rangers and Hibernian receive a bye to the second round as they compete in European tournaments over the summer.

The draw is split into north (Groups A-D) and south (Groups E-H) sections, and the group fixtures will be played between 14 and 28 July.

In Group A, relegated Ross County tackle Championship rivals Dundee United and Alloa Athletic, as well as League One Arbroath and League Two Elgin City.

St Johnstone, who finished eighth in the Premiership, have been drawn against second-tier Falkirk, alongside East Fife, Forfar Athletic and newly-promoted Montrose, all of whom play in League One.

Former striker Robertson scored over 200 goals for Hearts, and managed the Tynecastle side between 2004 and 2005.

John Robertson issues instructions from the ICT technical area
John Robertson was a fan favourite as a player for Hearts

The 53-year-old is in his second stint in charge of Caley Thistle, whom he guided to fifth place in last season's Championship, two points shy of the play-off positions.

Group C also features League One Raith Rovers, and provides an opportunity for Cowdenbeath and Cove Rangers to lock horns again, after the Fife team narrowly defeated Highland League Cove in a controversial League Two play-off second leg this month.

Premiership Dundee, Championship Dunfermline Athletic, League One Brechin City and League Two Stirling Albion and Peterhead will contest Group D.

Newly-relegated Partick Thistle face Championship counterparts Morton and Ayr United, as well as League One Stenhousemuir and League Two Albion Rovers in Group E.

Accies and Livi, who were promoted from the Championship at the expense of Thistle, are the top-tier teams in Group F, which also features League One Airdrieonians and League Two Annan Athletic and Berwick Rangers.

League Cup runners-up Motherwell have been drawn alongside Championship Queen of the South, League One Stranraer and League Two Clyde and Edinburgh City in Group G.

St Mirren, seeking a new manager after Jack Ross agreed a move to Sunderland, face Killie, as well as Dumbarton, relegated to League One, League Two Queen's Park and Lowland League champions Spartans in Group H.

Northern section

Group A: Ross County, Dundee United, Arbroath, Elgin City, Alloa Athletic.

Group B: St Johnstone, Falkirk, Montrose, East Fife, Forfar Athletic.

Group C: Heart of Midlothian, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Raith Rovers, Cowdenbeath, Cove Rangers.

Group D: Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Stirling Albion, Brechin City, Peterhead.

Southern section

Group E: Partick Thistle, Morton, Albion Rovers, Ayr United, Stenhousemuir.

Group F: Hamilton Academical, Livingston, Berwick Rangers, Airdrieonians, Annan Athletic.

Group G: Motherwell, Queen of the South, Clyde, Edinburgh City, Stranraer.

Group H: Kilmarnock, St Mirren, Dumbarton, Queen's Park, Spartans.