Chairman Alastair Donald is thrilled that Forfar Athletic will experience a club first when Welsh Premier League champions The New Saints arrive at Station Park in the IRN-BRU Cup.
But he admitted to a bit of relief that the fourth round draw didn’t hand them a trip in the other direction.
Forfar v TNS was one of the eye-catching ties in the revamped competition, which welcomes two Northern Irish and two Welsh teams into it for the last 16.
Dundee United avoided a trip to Ireland, but only just. The Tangerines were handed an away game against Stranraer.
And there will be nothing ground-breaking about Dunfermline’s home game against Queen’s Park.
For Forfar though, this is indeed new territory.
“I’m fairly certain a Welsh team hasn’t come to Forfar before,” Donald said. “Certainly not in a competitive match.
“People have been critical of the new format of the IRN-BRU Cup but if the reaction on social media and the number of calls I’ve had is anything to go by, this has got people talking.
“It’s the most attention the competition has got, apart from maybe when Rangers were in it for the first time.”
He added: “If it had been the other way around it would have cost us money.
“I did a back of a fag packet calculation and it came to about £8,000 to do things properly, and we would have got £4,000 travel costs from the SPFL.
“We’ll look forward to welcoming The New Saints to Station Park.”
TNS – a full-time team – are top of the Welsh Premier League, with five wins out of five, but Forfar are on a high just now as well.
“We’ve won six games in a row,” Donald said. “And not many people would have thought we would have beaten Raith Rovers in the last round.
“No disrespect to the competition, but we’re just concentrating on getting three points at Annan on Saturday. We won’t be thinking about The New Saints until the week of the game.”
Donald isn’t getting carried away with Forfar’s opening to the season, as last year proved that flying starts can count for little.
“It’s just a start and we need to build on it,” he pointed out. “But we’re happy with the squad Gary Bollan has assembled and I think it’s one that would have survived in League One last year.”
The full IRN-BRU Cup draw is –
Bala Town v Alloa Athletic
Forfar Athletic v New Saints
Crusaders v Livingston
Queen of the South v Livingston
Hibs v St Mirren
Dunfermline v Queen’s Park
Ayr United v Falkirk
Stranraer v Dundee United
The ties are due to be played on the weekend of October 8/9.