Peterhead manager calls for holistic view

Feb 8, 2021

Peterhead manager Jim McInally has urged the Joint Response Group to think through in-depth what will happen to the Scottish Football Pyramid before giving the ‘green light’ for leagues to restart as no-one wants another summer of acrimony.  

The Scottish FA suspended football below the Premiership and Championship on January 11 for three weeks and that suspension was extended to February 14 last week after discussions with the Joint Response Group and the Scottish Government. 

The 20 teams in the SPFL’s two lower divisions joined together to offer a number of changes to their way of working in order to get their season finished with McInally believing that it would be folly to look at League 1 and 2 in isolation.  

An update is expected this week and whilst confidence is high that a return in March will be agreed the Balmoor boss wants the full implications to have been looked at. 

McInally explained: “It is good that clubs have been proactive with a view to get playing again but any decisions over League 1 and 2 should not be made without looking into the pyramid structure.”  

“Last season everything was cut short and there were no play-offs. This season you could have a scenario where the two senior leagues are played out to 27 games, but there are no play-offs, as the Lowland League and Highland League have not been completed.”  

“Another scenario could arise, as these leagues are at very different stages, with the Lowland having played 13 rounds of fixtures and the Highland League three. Could that mean that the Lowland League is played to a finish but not the Highland one.” 

“If that is the case what would that mean in terms of the play-offs.”  

© Craig Stewart

McInally added: “The Joint Response Group need to consider whether it be acceptable to have two seasons with no or reduced play-offs and if so, explain why. There are also issues in the Scottish Cup to think about for the Highland League teams.” 

“If the four senior leagues are allowed to continue and the Scottish Cup is run how do the seven teams from the Highland League that are still in it compete when they are not playing any other football.”  

“I would hope that all the possible scenarios are thought through before any major decisions are made. Nobody wants another summer of arguing and court action. Working through all the possibilities in the pyramid now would save that.”