JOSH JEFFRIES is the first player of the competition to get their hands on the IRN-BRU Cup Golden Balls Award after bagging two goals in the First-Round of the revamped Scottish Challenge Cup competition.

The youngster has been named as the fan’s player of the round for his ballsy performance as the defending champions cruised to a 4 – 0 victory over Stirling University at Forthbank.

More than five thousand football supporters took part in the Golden Balls Award vote on IRN BRU’s official Twitter channel (@IrnBruFootball) in which Jeffries came out on top with 39 per cent of the votes.

As the football sponsor with balls, IRN-BRU has created the Golden Balls Award to recognise impressive player performances during each round of the competition.

Following 14 gripping first round ties with 60 goals scored in total, the midfielder beat-off stiff competition to be shortlisted for the award alongside Celtic U20s star Aiden Nesbitt, as well as Partick Thistle U20s’ Kevin Nisbet and Aberdeen U20s’ Scott Wright.

The rising Light Blues star hit two first half goals, including a 30-yard thunderbolt six minutes into the game to help his team secure a second round tie with Stenhousemuir. His second came off the underside of the crossbar, after he collected the ball at the edge of the area before squeezing home a sweet left-foot drive.

Speaking after getting his hands on the Golden Balls Award, Josh said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive the IRN-BRU Cup Golden Balls Award. It was a tough first round tie against Stirling University but the team did really well to get the win and it felt good to chip in with a couple of goals.”

Adrian Troy, Head of Marketing at IRN-BRU, said: “The first round of the IRN-BRU Cup had all the ingredients of what makes an exciting cup competition. There were a number of terrific performances, cup upsets and goals scored to whet the fans appetite, and the new format provided a platform for Scottish football’s rising stars to showcase their skills to a wider audience.

“It was fantastic to see so many fans take part in the online vote to choose the player of the round and we’re delighted to announce Josh as the winner of the Golden Balls Award.”

The First-Round of the IRN-BRU Cup featured eight Ladbrokes League 2 Clubs, Colts Teams from the each of the Ladbrokes Premiership Clubs, Scottish Highland Football League (SHFL) and Scottish Lowland Football League (SLFL) clubs.

Supporters will be able to vote for their player of round two by visiting @IRNBRUFootball on Twitter. Craig Malcolm from Stranraer, Andy Jackson from Brechin, Josh Peters from Forfar, and Alan Cook from Stenhousemuir have all been shortlisted for the Golden Balls Award following their performances in the Second-Round of the competition.

The poll for choosing the player of round two will be open from 9am on Friday 19 August and will close on Monday 22 August at midday.

For more details on the IRN-BRU Cup, visit www.spfl.co.uk/challenge-cup

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