Scottish Challenge Cup carnage as England to represent Wales and Wales to represent England
The Scottish Challenge Cup is an unusual competition. Originally established in 1990 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Scottish FA, the organisers have made some interesting attempts to increase its popularity in recent years.
One method of bringing in extra revenue has been to invite clubs from different countries to take part in the Cup. Teams from England, Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have been invited to play against Scottish opposition, allowing teams from across the British isles a rare opportunity to compete with one another.
There's been some mixed results, with increased media coverage of the competition, but some fans and players annoyed at the amount of money going out of Scotland, with thousands of pounds in prize money and travel subsidies paid to foreign clubs; a serious concern for Scottish clubs working on tiny budgets.
Things came to a head last season when Welsh outfit Connah's Quay took on Northern Irish side Coleraine in the third round, causing much head-scratching amongst Scotland's football supporters. Connah's Quay actually made it all the way to the final before being eliminated by Scottish second tier champions Ross County.
Scottish club East Fife meanwhile faced a nightmare trip when, after travelling to the Republic of Ireland to face Bohemians, they found their game called off due to a frozen pitch and were eventually granted a bye through to the next round without kicking a ball.
But the coming season could be even more confusing. One of the teams invited to represent England is Wrexham FC, a club based in Wales. Similarly, TNS will be representing Wales, despite their home stadium being based in England. It could make for some strange headlines if the two are drawn to face each other, but Scottish football chiefs will no doubt be hoping the continued confusion will lead to additional interest and revenue.