The Scottish Challenge Cup and general weirdness

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!

HAVING YOUR TEACAKE AND EATING IT

While few thought the draw for the first round of this season’s Milk Cup conducted in the Colindale branch of Morrisons supermarket could be topped in terms of general weirdness, one particular Scottish competition was quick to say: “Hold ma pint o’heavy!” And so it came to pass on Wednesday morning that the draw for the Scottish Challenge Cup took place in a bakery in Lanarkshire, where it was conducted by former Scottish international Billy Dodds, SPFL blazer Neil Doncaster and a moustachioed, elderly gentlemen in a lab-coat who was recently knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to inventing the foil-wrapped Tunnock’s teacake.

For the benefit of certain Fiver readers of a non-British disposition who may be unfamiliar with either the aforementioned gooey confection or the football tournament to which it has just become adhered as official “snack partner”, the former is a chocolate coated soft marshmallow on a biscuit base created by Sir Boyd Tunnock, while the latter is a Scottish knockout cup competition that could scarcely be less significant, even going by the standards of fitba. Contested by … deep breath … 30 teams from the Scottish Professional Football League, four each from the Highland and Lowland Leagues, as well as two “guest” teams from the Norn Iron, O’Ireland and Welsh top flights. Plus Wrexham and Solihull from England’s National League are thrown in for good measure, just to make the whole thing a little more confusing.

Previously sponsored by the bubblegum-flavoured, sugar-saturated and peculiarly Scottish hangover cure that is Irn-Bru, this competition to showcase the most mediocre football talent in Britain and O’Ireland has now sold its soul to something that is arguably even more unhealthy. It will henceforth be known as the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup, in a nod to a biscuit conceived in 1952 that remains popular among the kind of people who were born around the same time.

Having picked a slow news day to stage their attention-grabbing draw against a backdrop of highly distinctive red, yellow and white branding, the tournament sponsors have already succeeded in their fiendish aim of grabbing the kind of Fiver headlines no amount of money or tasty Scottish chocolate treats sent in bulk to our easily findable address can usually buy.

LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE

Join Paul Doyle for hot and steamy MBM coverage of Egypt 1-0 DR Congo in the Africa Cup of Nations at 9pm BST.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I like it being hot and we’ve planned for it. If we keep passing it well, the ball won’t get tired. It’s our English mentality to worry about the weather. For two weeks at St George’s Park my players essentially lived in a sauna. We wore thermals. The players enjoy hot weather, we feel good in the heat” – Phil Neville laughs in the face of hellish “killer” heatwaves when there’s a World Cup to be won.

P-Nev gets his peruse on.
P-Nev gets his peruse on. Photograph: John Walton/PA

FIVER LETTERS

“On first glance, I was sure the lamp in the background of the photo of the pensively gazing Fawaz al-Hasawi (yesterdays News, Bits and Bobs) was the 1959 FA Cup trophy, inconspicuously disguised as a lamp. I immediately thought what a good sense of humour this chap must have” – James Ryan.

“Can you do something for me please, Fiver? Can you refer to them as Frank Lampard’s Chelsea for a while? It might catch on as a thing if someone with as much influence as you took it up and it’d make the past year or so for Derby County, seemingly spent as Chelsea’s asset-polishing club, slightly more bearable” – Louise Wright.

“It’s good to see that the fun and games in South America Dept is alive and kicking (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs). I did wonder if it had succumbed to the cull that is rife in much of the traditional media. Next up must be the rehiring of the 1,057 pedants who seem to have gone missing too” – Luke McLean.

“I’m not entirely sure this qualifies as nominative determinism (Fiver letters passim), but I remember a joiner a few years ago now, who drove round in a van with his name on the side. ‘Terry Bell, Joiner.’ You had to wonder” – Paul Dixon.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Paul Dixon.

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Football Weekly Extra. On a Wednesday? Is nothing sacred?

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Watford academy striker Reece Miller is under disciplinary investigation in relation to a pwopah nawty brawl at Royal Ascot last Friday.

Yaya Banana!

Yaya Banana!
Yaya Banana! Photograph: Visionhaus

Egypt’s Amr Wada has been sent home from the Africa Cup of Nations after a number of women alleged that he harassed them on various social media disgraces. “He’s definitely out,” sniffed Egypt boss Ihab Leheita. “We have a match to focus on.”

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is this close to being Phil Jones’s teammate after Crystal Palace agreed a fee of £45m with Manchester United for the full-back.

Jack Clarke, who wasn’t born when Radiohead released Kid A, is coughing for the doctor at Spurs after Nasty Leeds accepted a £10m offer plus add-ons for the wee scamp of a winger.

Just because he likes a certain number, hipster fans’ favourite David Silva is going to say adios to Manchester City at the end of next season. “It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years – that’s it,” he randomly announced in Gran Canaria.

And in what could rank as the quickest delivery at Anfield since Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner against Barcelona, Denise Jones – who was attending a Pink gig at the ground on Tuesday night – went into labour and gave birth to a baby girl called Dolly Pink within minutes. Congrats!

STILL WANT MORE?

Suzanne Wrack has the latest Women’s World Cup power rankings.

Half of your top eight, there.
Half of your top eight, there. Composite: Getty Images, Shutterstock, Reuters

Defending champions USA! USA!! USA!!! got lucky against Spain, reckons Hope Solo.

It’s almost Moyes Day, whoops Paul Wilson.

Aidy ‘Adrian’ Boothroyd has questions to answer after it all went pear-shaped for England in the U21 Euros, warns Andy Hunter.

Small country, big club. This week’s Knowledge spotlights low-ranking international footballers winning the Premier League, a player who has featured in six different derbies and much more.

Martin Laurence tells us where the Copa América quarters will be won and lost.

Cardiff Met Uni’s student footballers are jaunting off to Luxembourg for Big Vase fun. Stuart James explains.

Though presumably we won’t be able to report what happens because what goes on on tour, stays on tour?
Though presumably we won’t be able to report what happens because what goes on on tour, stays on tour? Photograph: Cardiff Metropolitan

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!

‘LET ME JUST QUOTE THE LATE, GREAT COLONEL SANDERS, WHO SAID … I’M TOO DRUNK TO TASTE THIS CHICKEN’