The Betfred Cup groups stages are only in their fourth year but already they’ve established a new tradition in the Scottish game.
It’s one that could come under the title of shocks and struggles – particularly if you’re a full-time club.
Every year since the groups were re-introduced for the 2016/17 campaign, at least some of the bigger outfits have found them a minefield.
Dundee, United and now, this year, St Johnstone have all had their troubles. Saints’ loss at Montrose the other night might even rank as the biggest upset so far.
The Perth men, to their credit, are a well-established Premiership side now, and there was no reason to expect them to go down at Links Park on Tuesday night.
Except for one – it’s the Betfred Cup groups and tradition has it that someone will come a cropper.
Someone always does and, while that’s by accident rather than design, it’s made what I prefer to call the League Cup more interesting than it’s been for years.
And it’s great for the fans of the smaller clubs.
Working out the reason their teams seem to have a better chance of pulling off shocks isn’t rocket science.
The pre-season is so short these days that there will always be a few outfits, big and small, who are nowhere near ready for the action.
And, if they come up against a team that is, there can be trouble.
For all the mumbles and grumbles from those on the receiving end of these results that don’t go their way, it’s also making for good entertainment.
From a purely professional point of view, I do have sympathy for those who’ve suffered, because, in a perfect world, they would have more time to put their squads together.
The bonus point penalty shootouts in the event of a draw also help.
It gives the smaller team the chance to try to shut up shop and still come out of the evening with two points – a more than acceptable haul for them.
It’s what Cove Rangers tried to do against Dundee on Wednesday and no doubt Peterhead will do similar at Dens today.
Of course, ultimately it’s up to clubs to make sure they are better prepared for this early, but now normal, competitive action.
That they are not does not bother me. As I often say, these games are better than pre-season friendlies.
And the shocks they are now producing on an annual basis have breathed new life into the competition.