We can confirm that we have accepted an invitation to compete in the Irn-Bru Cup next season alongside sides from the Scottish Football League and the junior sides from Scottish Premiership clubs, as well as teams from Ireland and Wales, who were invited to join the competition last season. The National League was offered the chance to take two places in the competition and nominated Sutton United and Boreham Wood, the two sides who finished in the top four last season and were not promoted. Once UEFA had approved the cross-border expansion, chairman Bruce Elliott has confirmed that the offer was readily accepted. ''We are delighted to have been asked, and are excited at taking part in a competition that is new for us, and gives us the chance to encounter new opposition and play against sides that we would not meet in our normal schedule.'' Paul Doswell is also keen on the new venture. ''It's a great honour for the club, and one that I am very excited about. The games are played on Saturdays, so it will give us something different and I'm sure the players will be able to compete at the level and still have a good season in the National League. It will be interesting to have the possibility of visiting new grounds, and I'm sure it's something that the supporters will be keen to get involved with as well.'' Michael Tattersall, the National League's Chief Executive, said: ''We were pleased to accept the SPFL's invitation to participate in next year's competition. We believe our two clubs will benefit from playing in an international competition and we look forward to establishing new relationships with the other leagues involved.''
Sutton and Boreham Wood will join the competition at the second round stage, which last season was played in early September. Further information on draw and round dates will follow when known.
The Scottish Challenge Cup was established in 1990/91 to mark the Scottish Football League centenary and has run every year since (with the exception of 1998/99). Scottish Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle are the current cup holders, beating Dumbarton in this year's final at St Johnstone's McDiarmid Park ground in Perth.