Hearts U20s have been paired with East Stirling in the third round of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup and Jack Ross believes his youngsters will have to be on their toes.
The Wee Jambos were handed an away tie against The Shire, who will be in a buoyant mood following their impressive win over Falkirk in the previous round.
Player Development Manager Jack can look forward to the match being played in the familiar surroundings of Ochilview but insists the opposition will be no pushovers.
Speaking to Hearts News, he said: “It’s always difficult to gauge a Youth Cup draw the same way that you would a first-team draw, in terms of where clubs are. You get smaller clubs with good youth systems and vice versa.
“East Stirling had a really good result in the last round when they beat Falkirk at Falkirk. Given that for a number of years now Falkirk have had a really good reputation for producing young players, then it’s a terrific result for them.
“It’s a difficult tie for us given their result in the previous round. The good thing is that in terms of venue it’s one we’ll be very familiar with. Their home games are at Ochilview and that’s where we play our Development League games.”
With the Development League allowing overage players to feature in games, the Youth Cup affords young players the chance to play together exclusively, something Jack feels is appealing to them.
“All the young players were asking if the draw had been made so I think they’re excited about the competition,” he revealed. “Sometimes you can overlook that. Even when you go back to when I was an apprentice player, traditionally the Youth Cup was a big competition. Young players enjoyed playing in it and looked to go and progress in it.
“It’s a tough match but it’s one that we’ll look forward to. It’s not often the U20s get a chance to play together, due to the nature of the Development League games. Hopefully we’ll get some time to prepare for it and get the details finalised as well.”