Jun 2 2011 By Fraser Wilson
PARTICK THISTLE have drawn third division Berwick Rangers at home in the first round of the new-look Scottish Communities League Cup.
The draw was made this afternoon as First Minister Alex Salmond and Scottish Football League Chief Executive David Longmuir launched the newly branded competition at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell.
Thistle will host Berwick for the third time in as many years - having defeated Jimmy Crease's men 2-1 in the Alba Cup last season and 5-1 in the League Cup two years ago.
The match will be played on Saturday, July 30, at Firhill.
The Scottish Government stepped in to support the competition after Co-operative Insurance ended their long-standing sponsorship.
The cup campaign will use cash seized from criminals to encourage positive behaviour and stronger communities, promoting respect, responsibility and tolerance to football fans and families throughout Scotland.
It is part of a package of measures building on the commitment made at the Football Summit in March and the ongoing work of the Joint Action Group to expand existing community work and back clubs, authorities, and police in tackling unacceptable behaviour.
SFL chief Longmuir said: "This partnership is one that I believe will result in positive results for the Scottish Government and the Scottish Football League but the wider benefits will be felt by everyone in local communities.
"Football fans of all ages, young people generally, parents, schools, teachers and our clubs at the heart of their local communities all stand to gain from the focussed efforts of the partnerships the Scottish Communities League Cup will generate."
Mr Salmond added: "The partnership between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Football League will promote all thats good about our national game and put local football clubs back at the heart of Scotlands communities.
"The SFL and its clubs already carry out invaluable work across the country and we want to build on these partnerships to encourage positive change in attitudes in our local communities."
Former Thistle manager Murdo MacLeod was on hand to assist with today's draw and commented: "It's another boost for Scottish Football to have this kind of support invested in the League Cup competition.
"Everyone associated with football wants our game to thrive and by giving young people the best opportunities to participate and teaching them how to respect the game and each other, football and the wider community will be the winner."
Full first round draw:
Queen of the South v Stranraer
Annan Athletic v Dunfermline Athletic
Partick Thistle v Berwick Rangers
Dumbarton v Dundee
Brechin City v Clyde
Montrose v Raith Rovers
Livingston v Arbroath
Albion Rovers v Falkirk
Forfar Athletic v Peterhead
Alloa Athletic v Morton
Cowdenbeath v Stenhousemuir
Airdrie United v Stirling Albion
East Fife v Elgin City
East Stirlingshire v Ayr United
Ross County v Queen's Park