Celtic and co could be set for some promising news regarding the future of this season’s Scottish Cup next week.
The nation’s most coveted cup competition has had to be put on hold ever since the lower-leagues were halted back on January 11th [SFA]. This affected every league from League One down and also included women’s and grassroots football.
This, therefore, led to the Scottish Cup also being held back due to the number of lower-league clubs still in the competition. With the competition now already two rounds behind, it’s been looking more and more unlikely that it would be finished this season.
But National Clinical Director Jason Leitch has provided some hope. He was speaking on BBC Scotland’s Off the Ball programme yesterday. And finally, the lower leagues and those involved in the Scottish Cup could be set for some promising news next week.
“It’s a conversation that’s ongoing. We do have some influence – we want to do it in a joined-up and collegiate way, we don’t like laws for elite sport. We want to do it with the joint response group, the minister for sport, me, the clinical advisors, and we made quite a lot of progress this week about what that next phase will look like.
“I’m pretty confident there will be news next week which will indicate where we’re headed for the next phase. I’m hoping that will be joint Scottish Government and league news because we’re trying to do it together.
“It’s complicated because at one end there’s a list of reasons why we should but at the other end there’s 800 positive cases a day, quite a lot of travel. These teams are not full-time so they’re not quite as protected as some of the full-time teams. It’s not as straight forward as it perhaps seems but I’m hopeful we can do it with mitigation and safety in place.”
Celtic awaiting Scottish Cup news; return of lower leagues removes all roadblocks
It’s worth noting that the only thing holding the Scottish Cup back is the lower-league suspension. As soon as that’s lifted, the cup can be carried on.
It had been reported earlier this month that the SFA had been desperate to complete the competition this season [Daily Record]. One of the options being considered includes a festival of football. That could see three rounds of the competition played out over a 10-day period.
If a resumption for the near-future is found, there’s still time to complete the competition. As things stand, we have five rounds of football still to play. The final is scheduled to be played on May 8th. However, whether that will be the case remains to be seen.
Granted, Hampden will need to be turned over to UEFA for the European Championships in the same month. There’s no real opportunity for delay. But fitting the matches in between now and then shouldn’t be impossible.
It remains to be seen what the government and SFA come up with this week. But judging by Leitch’s comments, it looks as though we’re in for a promising update.
Celtic are due to face the winners of Arbroath vs Falkirk in round three of the competition.