2018–19 Scottish League Cup

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2018–19 Scottish League Cup
CountryScotland
Dates14 July 2018 – 2 December 2018
Teams44
Defending championsCeltic
ChampionsCeltic
Runners-upAberdeen
Matches played95
Goals scored274 (2.88 per match)
Top goal scorer(s)Lawrence Shankland (9 goals)
All statistics correct as of 2 December 2018.

The 2018–19 Scottish League Cup (also known as the Betfred Cup for sponsorship reasons) was the 73rd season of Scotland's second-most prestigious football knockout competition.

The format for the 2018–19 competition was the same as the previous two seasons.

It began with eight groups of five teams which included all Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) clubs, excluding those competing in Champions League and Europa League qualifiers, as well as the top teams from the 2017–18 Highland Football League (Cove Rangers) and the 2017–18 Lowland Football League (Spartans).

Schedule[edit]

Round First match date Fixtures Clubs
Group stage 14 July 2018[1] 80 44 → 16
Second round 18 August 2018[1] 8 16 → 80
Quarter finals 25 September 2018[1] 4 8 → 4
Semi finals 27 October 2018[1] 2 4 → 2
Final 2 December 2018[1] 1 2 → 1

Format[edit]

The competition began with eight groups of five teams. The four clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League (Celtic) and Europa League (Aberdeen, Hibernian and Rangers) qualifying rounds were given a bye through to the second round. The 40 teams competing in the group stage consisted of the other eight teams that competed in the 2017–18 Scottish Premiership, and all of the teams that competed in the 2017–18 Scottish Championship, 2017–18 Scottish League One and 2017–18 Scottish League Two, as well as the 2017–18 Highland Football League and the 2017–18 Lowland Football League champions.

The winners of each of the eight groups, as well as the four best runners-up progressed to the second round (last 16), which included the four UEFA qualifying clubs. At this stage, the competition reverted to the traditional knock-out format. The four group winners with the highest points total and the clubs entering at this stage were seeded, with the four group winners with the lowest points unseeded along with the four best runners-up.

Bonus point system[edit]

In December 2015, the SPFL announced that alongside the new group stage format, a bonus point system would be introduced to provide greater excitement and increase the number of meaningful games at this stage.[2] The traditional point system of awarding three points for a win and one point for a draw is used, however, for each group stage match that finishes in a draw, a penalty shoot-out takes place, with the winner being awarded a bonus point.

Group stage[edit]

The group stage was made up of eight teams from the 2017–18 Scottish Premiership, and all ten teams from each of the 2017–18 Scottish Championship, 2017–18 Scottish League One and 2017–18 Scottish League Two, as well as the winners of the 2017–18 Highland Football League and 2017–18 Lowland Football League. The 40 teams were divided into two sections – North and South – with each section containing four top seeds, four second seeds and 12 unseeded teams. Each section was drawn into four groups with each group comprising one top seed, one second seed and three unseeded teams.

The draw for the group stages took place on 25 May 2018 and was broadcast live on BT Sport 2.[1]

North[edit]

Group A[edit]

Pos Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification ROS ARB ALO DUN ELG
1 Ross County (Q) 4 3 0 0 1 6 4 +2 9 Qualification for the Second Round 1–0 2–0
2 Arbroath 4 2 1 0 1 9 6 +3 8 4–1 2–0
3 Alloa Athletic 4 2 1 0 1 8 5 +3 8 0–2 4–2
4 Dundee United 4 1 0 2 1 6 3 +3 5 1–1p 1–1p
5 Elgin City 4 0 0 0 4 0 11 −11 0 0–3 0–4
Source: [3]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[4]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Group B[edit]

Pos Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification STJ FAL MON FOR EFI
1 St Johnstone (Q) 4 3 1 0 0 5 1 +4 11 Qualification for the Second Round 1–0 p0–0
2 Falkirk 4 2 0 0 2 4 3 +1 6 0–1 2–0
3 Montrose 4 2 0 0 2 3 4 −1 6 0–1 1–0
4 Forfar Athletic 4 1 1 0 2 5 7 −2 5 1–3 3–1
5 East Fife 4 0 0 2 2 2 4 −2 2 1–2 1–1p
Source: [5]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[6]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Group C[edit]

Pos Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification HOM INV COW COV RAI
1 Heart of Midlothian[a] (Q) 4 3 1 0 0 13 2 +11 9 Qualification for the Second Round 5–0 5–0
2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4 3 0 0 1 9 8 +1 9 2–0 2–1
3 Cowdenbeath 4 2 0 0 2 5 10 −5 6 2–5 1–0
4 Cove Rangers 4 1 0 0 3 3 5 −2 3 1–2 2–0
5 Raith Rovers 4 0 0 1 3 2 7 −5 1 1–1p 0–2
Source: [8]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[9]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.
Notes:
  1. ^ Heart of Midlothian were deducted two points for fielding an ineligible player against Cove Rangers on 18 July 2018.[7]

Group D[edit]

Pos Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification DNF DND BRE STI PET
1 Dunfermline Athletic (Q) 4 4 0 0 0 14 2 +12 12 Qualification for the Second Round 3–1 3–0
2 Dundee (Q) 4 3 0 0 1 8 1 +7 9 0–1 2–0
3 Brechin City 4 1 0 1 2 3 10 −7 4 1–7 0–0p
4 Stirling Albion 4 1 0 0 3 4 9 −5 3 0–4 1–2
5 Peterhead 4 0 1 0 3 0 7 −7 2 0–2 0–2
Source: [10]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[11]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

South[edit]

Group E[edit]

Pos Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification AYR PAR GMO STE ALB
1 Ayr United (Q) 4 4 0 0 0 12 1 +11 12 Qualification for the Second Round 3–1 5–0
2 Partick Thistle (Q) 4 3 0 0 1 6 3 +3 9 0–2 2–1
3 Greenock Morton 4 2 0 0 2 9 5 +4 6 2–0 5–0
4 Stenhousemuir 4 1 0 0 3 4 9 −5 3 0–2 4–0
5 Albion Rovers 4 0 0 0 4 0 13 −13 0 0–2 0–2
Source: [12]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[13]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Group F[edit]

Pos Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification LIV AIR HAM ANN BER
1 Livingston (Q) 4 3 1 0 0 5 1 +4 11 Qualification for the Second Round 1–0 2–0
2 Airdrieonians 4 2 0 1 1 9 4 +5 7 1–2 4–1
3 Hamilton Academical 4 1 1 1 1 5 2 +3 6 0–0p p1–1
4 Annan Athletic 4 2 0 0 2 6 5 +1 6 1–0 4–0
5 Berwick Rangers 4 0 0 0 4 0 10 −10 0 0–3 0–4
Source: [14]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[15]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Group G[edit]

Pos Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification MOT QOS EDC CLY STR
1 Motherwell (Q) 4 3 0 1 0 11 2 +9 10 Qualification for the Second Round 2–0 5–0
2 Queen of the South (Q) 4 3 0 0 1 12 5 +7 9 3–0 5–3
3 Edinburgh City 4 1 1 0 2 5 12 −7 5 0–4 4–2
4 Clyde 4 1 0 1 2 5 8 −3 4 1–3 1–1p
5 Stranraer 4 0 1 0 3 7 13 −6 2 p1–1 1–3
Source: [16]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[17]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Group H[edit]

Pos Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification KIL STM DUM QPA SPA
1 Kilmarnock (Q) 4 3 0 1 0 9 2 +7 10 Qualification for the Second Round 0–0p 2–0
2 St Mirren (Q) 4 1 3 0 0 8 2 +6 9 6–0 p2–2
3 Dumbarton 4 1 1 0 2 3 10 −7 5 2–4 1–0
4 Queen's Park 4 1 0 1 2 2 4 −2 4 0–0p 2–1
5 Spartans 4 0 0 2 2 3 7 −4 2 0–3 0–0p
Source: [18]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[19]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Best runners-up[edit]

Pos Grp Team Pld W PW PL L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1 G Queen of the South (Q) 4 3 0 0 1 12 5 +7 9 Qualification for the Second Round
2 D Dundee (Q) 4 3 0 0 1 8 1 +7 9
3 H St Mirren (Q) 4 1 3 0 0 8 2 +6 9
4 E Partick Thistle (Q) 4 3 0 0 1 6 3 +3 9
5 C Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4 3 0 0 1 9 8 +1 9
6 A Arbroath 4 2 1 0 1 9 6 +3 8
7 F Airdrieonians 4 2 0 1 1 9 4 +5 7
8 B Falkirk 4 2 0 0 2 4 3 +1 6
Source: [20]
Rules for classification: 1) goal difference, 2) goals scored, 3) away goals scored, 4) matches won, 5) away matches won, 6) drawing of lots.[21]
(Q) Qualified to the phase indicated.

Knockout phase[edit]

Second round[edit]

Draw and seeding[edit]

Aberdeen, Celtic, Hibernian and Rangers entered the competition at this stage, after receiving a bye for the group stage due to their participation in UEFA club competitions.

The draw for the second round took place at Tynecastle Park following the conclusion of the Heart of Midlothian-Inverness Caledonian Thistle match on 29 July 2018. The four UEFA-qualifying clubs and the four group winners with the best record were seeded for the draw.[22]

Teams in Bold advanced to the quarter-finals.

Seeded Unseeded
Notes
  • † denotes teams playing in the Championship.

Matches[edit]

Quarter-finals[edit]

Draw[edit]

The draw for the quarter-finals took place on 19 August 2018 following the conclusion of the Kilmarnock-Rangers match.[23] The draw was unseeded.

Teams in Bold advanced to the semi-finals.

Teams[edit]

Premiership Championship

Matches[edit]

Semi-finals[edit]

Draw[edit]

The draw for the semi-finals took place on 26 September 2018 following the conclusion of the final three quarter-final matches.[24] The draw was unseeded.

Teams[edit]

Premiership

Matches[edit]

Semi-final controversy[edit]

The semi-finals were due to take place at Hampden Park on 27 and 28 October 2018,[1] but due to Celtic and Rangers participating in the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League group stage, the team who would play on the Saturday would have less than 48 hours rest before the match. As a result, the SPFL - who had previously committed to using Hampden as the venue for the League Cup semi-finals and final - consulted with the four clubs involved, competition broadcaster BT Sport and Police Scotland to find a solution which may have included playing one match at Murrayfield Stadium or a change in date.[25][26]

The SPFL announced on 27 September 2018 that both matches will be played at Hampden Park on the Sunday (28 October), with first match starting at noon and the other being played in the evening.[27] The following day, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said the decision was "the best solution" despite the "regrettable inconvenience" to supporters.[28] The SPFL are contractually obliged to use Hampden Park as the venue for the semi-finals of the League Cup when Rangers or Celtic are involved or an attendance of over 20,000 is expected.[29][28]

Aberdeen and Heart of Midlothian both criticised the SPFL for the decision saying they were "appalled" and "astonished".[30] Aberdeen released a statement to confirm their "dismay" that their match would kick-off at a "completely unacceptable" time for their supporters.[31] The first train leaving Aberdeen on 28 October 2018 would not arrive in Glasgow until 12:14, 14 minutes after kick-off.[28] Heart of Midlothian manager Craig Levein said that playing both semi-finals at Hampden on the same day is the "craziest thing", "beyond belief" and "madness"[32] and, in a statement released by the club, chairwoman Ann Budge said she had asked the SPFL if they could be released from their contract with Hampden Park Ltd as a result of the "very special circumstances" and was then told a formal request by the SPFL had been unsuccessful.[33][30]

On 2 October 2018, Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said that they were "aware of issues and concerns" regarding the semi-final arrangements.[34] As a result, the SPFL are reported to be considering moving the Heart of Midlothian-Celtic semi-final to Murrayfield Stadium pending a meeting with Police Scotland.[34]

On 3 October 2018, the SPFL confirmed that venues and kick-off times had been switched to 13:30 at Murrayfield and 16:30 at Hampden.[35]

Final[edit]

Celtic1–0Aberdeen
Christie Goal 45+5' Report
Attendance: 50,936
Referee: Andrew Dallas

Top goalscorers[edit]

As of matches played on 2 December 2018
Rank Player Club Goals
1 Scotland Lawrence Shankland Ayr United 9
2 Scotland Stephen Dobbie Queen of the South 8
3 Scotland Michael Moffat Ayr United 4
Scotland Jordyn Sheerin Cowdenbeath
England Myles Hippolyte Dunfermline Athletic
Scotland Steven Naismith Hearts
Scotland Kris Boyd Kilmarnock
Colombia Alfredo Morelos Rangers
Scotland Tony Watt St Johnstone

Media coverage[edit]

The domestic broadcasting rights for the competition are held exclusively by BT Sport.

The following matches will be broadcast live on UK television:

Round Date Match
Group Stage 13 July 2018 Kilmarnock v St Mirren[36]
21 July 2018 Raith Rovers v Heart of Midlothian[36]
22 July 2018 Dundee v Dunfermline Athletic[36]
28 July 2018 Clyde v Motherwell[36]
29 July 2018 Heart of Midlothian v Inverness Caledonian Thistle[36]
Second Round 18 August 2018 Partick Thistle v Celtic[37]
19 August 2018 Kilmarnock v Rangers[37]
Quarter-finals 25 September 2018 Hibernian v Aberdeen[38]
26 September 2018 St Johnstone v Celtic[38]
Semi-finals 28 October 2018 Aberdeen v Rangers[39]
Heart of Midlothian v Celtic[39]
Final 2 December 2018 Celtic v Aberdeen[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Date set for Betfred Cup draw". SPFL. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  2. ^ "New League Cup format and TV deal". SPFL. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group A". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group B". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Hearts sanctioned at SPFL hearing". SPFL. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group C". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group D". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group E". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group F". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group G". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  17. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group H". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Summary - League Cup Group". Soccerway. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  21. ^ "Format". SPFL. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Betfred Cup last-16 draw today". spfl.co.uk. SPFL. 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  23. ^ "BETFRED CUP QUARTER-FINAL DRAW". spfl.co.uk. SPFL. 19 August 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Betfred Cup semi-final draw tonight". spfl.co.uk. SPFL. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  25. ^ "SPFL fear fixture headache if both Rangers and Celtic make it to Hampden semis". sundaypost.com. Sunday Post. 16 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  26. ^ "SPFL to speak to clubs over cup semi-final scheduling". stv.tv. STV. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Double header for semi-finals". spfl.co.uk. SPFL. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  28. ^ a b c "League Cup: Hampden semi-finals 'beyond SPFL control' - Neil Doncaster". bbc.co.uk/sport. BBC Sport. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Betfred Cup semi-final Q&A". spfl.co.uk. SPFL. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  30. ^ a b "League Cup: Hearts & Aberdeen 'appalled' & 'astonished' by schedule". bbc.co.uk/sport. BBC Sport. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Aberdeen confirm dismay over Sunday lunchtime start". afc.co.uk. Aberdeen FC. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  32. ^ "League Cup: Hearts boss Craig Levein angry at semi-final 'madness'". bbc.co.uk/sport. BBC Sport. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Club Statement". heartsfc.co.uk. Heart of Midlothian FC. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  34. ^ a b "SPFL consider moving Hearts vs Celtic Betfred Cup semi final to Murrayfield". dailyrecord.co.uk. Daily Record. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  35. ^ "SPFL ANNOUNCES VENUES AND TIMINGS FOR BETFRED CUP SEMI-FINALS". spfl.co.uk. Scottish Professional Football League. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  36. ^ a b c d e "Betfred Cup group stage fixtures". SPFL. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  37. ^ a b "Betfred Cup TV selections". SPFL. 30 July 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  38. ^ a b "BETFRED CUP QUARTER-FINAL DETAILS". SPFL. 20 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  39. ^ a b "DOUBLE HEADER FOR SEMI-FINALS". SPFL. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  40. ^ "Betfred Final Live". SPFL. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.

External links[edit]