SCOTTISH lower-league clubs have been kicking their heels for longer than most but after nearly seven months they come out of cold storage on Tuesday night.
Teams such as Hearts, Falkirk, Dunfermline Ayr and Morton have watched on enviously as the Premiership clubs returned to action.
Finally they get their chance with nine matches in the Betfred Cup group stage on Tuesday and these will be tough from a betting point of view as a lot of the games will be treated as pre-season friendlies ahead of the league kick-off in a couple of weeks.
Games include Hearts vs Inverness, Annan vs Hamilton and Edinburgh City vs Livingston. Falkirk vs Kilmarnock has been called off and the tie awarded to Falkirk with Killie having too many players in self-isolation. And later Dundee were awarded a 3-0 win when a Forfar player tested positive and the club had to withdraw.
It's not the first and last time this situation will arise and everyone should be aware bookies will void bets and not pay out on markets such as Dundee -1 or Dundee -2. Losing bets are voided too in the interest of fair play.
Hearts have a couple of players missing with Michael Smith and Liam Boyce on international duty for Northern Ireland and Cammy Logan with Scotland kids but ICT are without Lewis Toshney and Kai Kennedy who are with Scotland Under-19s.
Having been in serious action for several weeks the Premiership clubs Hamilton and Livingston will have a huge advantage and should field strong line-ups during the international break. The double, however, pays just 1-2.
Hamilton boss Brian Rice says he'll play a team to win the tie but has Charlie Trafford, Jamie Hamilton and Andrew Winter on international duty.
Livingston have re-signed striker Josh Mullin and he could get a start against League Two Edinburgh.
The Betfred Cup isn't for the fainthearted and I'd keep stakes to a minimum. I've picked out a treble based mainly on h2h stats so don't regard it as a banker by any means.
Normally I'd back Hearts but with a couple of key men missing and no fans inside a Tynecastle stadium that's usually packed then I'm not as confident.
I'm starting with Championship Ayr at League Two Albion Rovers. Ayr have won out of five at Cliftonhill so won't worry about the less than salubrious surroundings.
Another Championship side Dunfermline visit League One Dumbarton where they have won three on the spin. The Pars will miss striker Kevin Nisbet who is doing so well at Hibs but should get the job done.
Dundee -1 was supposed to complete the treble. Anyone can do the double at evens or add Hamilton -1 at Annan.
I've also picked out a Betfred Cup goals treble but again there's not much reasoning behind it. Morton vs QoS games usually produce goals with the last four going 2-2, 3-3, 1-0 and 2-0.
Edinburgh are a forward-thinking team and should have chances in what is almost a derby match against Premiership opponents.
And four of the last five meetings between Stirling and Arbroath have saw both sides score.
There is also a full National League card and I'm sure there will be tips on the site.
Well done to any winners, including on-form HullShaker, on a small Monday card.
- Dundee -1 (off)
- (2-1, bet365)
Both to Score Treble
- Edinburgh City vs Livingston
- Morton vs Queen of the South
- Stirling Albion vs Arbroath
- (9-2, bet365)