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Nevermind the Euros as Scottish football season begins

Scottish League Cup gets under way on Friday night - two days before Euro 2020 comes to a conclusion.

Nevermind the Euros as Scottish football season begins SNS Group
The 2021/22 League Cup features teams from the SPFL as well as Highland and Lowland League representatives.

The Euros are yet to conclude but, for Scottish football, season 2021/22 starts on Friday night.

After weeks of pre-season, most of the SPFL’s 42 senior teams kick off the new campaign with the first of their League Cup group matches this weekend.

Premiership sides that have qualified for Europe sit this stage out so there’s no Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibs or St Johnstone, while Ross County have forfeited their game against Forfar Athletic due to a Covid outbreak.

The rest of the top-flight sides are, however, looking to get off to a flyer.

Big time for Kelty

Fittingly, the curtain-raiser for the competition features the newest member of the SPFL, Kelty Hearts, who were promoted to League Two through a play-off after winning the Lowland League.

Kelty Hearts will kick off their first-ever SPFL season on Friday night.SNS Group
Kelty Hearts will kick off their first-ever SPFL season on Friday night.

Their first reward is a home match on Friday night against a Dundee United side under new management in the shape of Tam Courts.

In the other Friday night match, Hamilton Accies begin life after relegation with a trip to Edinburgh City.

After their long run in the Premiership came to an end last season, Accies stuck with manager Brian Rice and he’ll want his side to lay down an early marker and show that they’ll be in the reckoning to bounce back up.

When Saturday comes

Saturday sees another 14 matches, with Championship winners Hearts beginning the season away to Peterhead.

Last season saw David Martindale guide his Livingston side to the League Cup final, only to be beaten by St Johnstone at Hampden. They begin their bid to go a step further with a trip to Brechin City in the first game of Group D.

St Johnstone beat Livingston to lift the League Cup last season.SNS Group
St Johnstone beat Livingston to lift the League Cup last season.

Among the pick of the other ties is League One champions Partick Thistle going up against a Dunfermline side they’ll be doing battle with in the Championship this season.

The group stage continues over the next two weeks to whittle the 45 sides down to 16, with the start of the league season then taking the spotlight on July 31.

See the full draw for the League Cup group stage here.