HEARTS will take on Inverness Caley Thistle in the League Cup Northern Group C next season.
The Edinburgh outfit, under ex-boss Ian Cathro, did not get out of their section in the last campaign, finishing third in a group that consisted of Dunfermline, Peterhead, East Fife and Elgin City.
The Highlanders, who lost to Aberdeen in the 2014 Final on penalties, failed to qualify for the second round last term.
The runners-up of each group in the northern and southern section go into a ‘best runners-up group’ with the top four progressing into the next stage.
Caley Thistle have not beaten the Tynecastle men since 2015. Raith Rovers, Cowdenbeath and Highland League champions Cove Rangers complete their group.
Ross County, the 2016 winners of the competition who have just been relegated from the Premiership, take on Dundee United as well as Arbroath, Elgin City and Alloa in Group A.
St Johnstone, who finished outside the top six in the Premiership for the first time in six seasons, will face Falkirk, Montrose, East Fife and Forfar in Group B.
Rounding off the northern section in Group D is Dundee, Dunfermilne, Stirling Albion, Brechin and Peterhead.
In the southern groups, the top seed of Group E, Partick Thistle, who lost to Livingston 3-1 on aggregate in the Premiership play-off, will face Morton, Albion Rovers, Ayr and Stenhousemuir.
Hamilton will take on the newly-promoted Livingston in Group F along with Berwick Rangers, Airdrie and Annan Athletic,
In Group G, Motherwell face Queen of the South, Clyde, Edinburgh City, who have yet to win a game in the competition, and Stranraer.
In the final group, Group H, Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock will battle Queen’s Park, St Mirren, Dumbarton and new boys Spartans.
The top four seeds – holders Celtic, Aberdeen, Rangers and Hibs – enter the competition in the second round. They all receive a bye for the group stage due to European commitments.