Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Betfred has breathed new life into our game with competitive ties

Betfred has breathed new life into our game with competitive ties

The Betfred Cup groups stages are only in their fourth year but already they’ve established a new tradition in the Scottish game.

It’s one that could come under the title of shocks and struggles – particularly if you’re a full-time club.

Every year since the groups were re-introduced for the 2016/17 campaign, at least some of the bigger outfits have found them a minefield.

Dundee, United and now, this year, St Johnstone have all had their troubles. Saints’ loss at Montrose the other night might even rank as the biggest upset so far.

The Perth men, to their credit, are a well-established Premiership side now, and there was no reason to expect them to go down at Links Park on Tuesday night.

Except for one – it’s the Betfred Cup groups and tradition has it that someone will come a cropper.

Someone always does and, while that’s by accident rather than design, it’s made what I prefer to call the League Cup more interesting than it’s been for years.

And it’s great for the fans of the smaller clubs.

Working out the reason their teams seem to have a better chance of pulling off shocks isn’t rocket science.

The pre-season is so short these days that there will always be a few outfits, big and small, who are nowhere near ready for the action.

And, if they come up against a team that is, there can be trouble.

For all the mumbles and grumbles from those on the receiving end of these results that don’t go their way, it’s also making for good entertainment.

From a purely professional point of view, I do have sympathy for those who’ve suffered, because, in a perfect world, they would have more time to put their squads together.

The bonus point penalty shootouts in the event of a draw also help.

It gives the smaller team the chance to try to shut up shop and still come out of the evening with two points – a more than acceptable haul for them.

It’s what Cove Rangers tried to do against Dundee on Wednesday and no doubt Peterhead will do similar at Dens today.

Of course, ultimately it’s up to clubs to make sure they are better prepared for this early, but now normal, competitive action.

That they are not does not bother me. As I often say, these games are better than pre-season friendlies.

And the shocks they are now producing on an annual basis have breathed new life into the competition.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.