Hearts under-20s coach Jon Daly insists the revamped IRN-BRU Cup offers a great platform for his youngsters to shine.
The Tynecastle side take on Stirling Albion in this evening’s first round tie after the competition was expanded to include top-flight colt sides.
The current under-20s league set up is often criticised for not being competitive enough but Daly reckons a clash against the League Two side and their seasoned professionals will be a valuable football education for his kids.
Daly, who could hand starts to 16-year-old trio Alex Petrov, Andrew Irving and Aaron Reid, said: “I think it’s a great idea to introduce under-20s sides and it’s a great opportunity for the younger boys to go up against teams from the senior ranks.
“It’s one we’re all looking forward to and I’m sure it will be a good experience and a good opportunity for the lads.
“We’ve had eight pre-season games so they’ve had minutes under their belts but this will be a different tempo and they’ll be going up against a team that are experienced.
“It will be interesting to see how they get on and it’s a step into the unknown in many ways. It’s going to be a difficult challenge.
“We’ll be going there with a full under-20s squad and we’ll have guys that are only 16, 17 and 18-years-old.”