It looks like there could be yet more Scottish Cup drama to come for Celtic after an intriguing report in the Daily Record last night.
The Record stated that, despite being allowed to return to action, clubs in Leagues One and Two may mothball until the end of the season.
The reported reason for this is due to the cost of Covid testing combined with taking players off of furlough. Elgin City chairman Graeme Tatters stated in the Record that testing will cost clubs £30,000 to before each game.
This would have a serious knock-on effect for the Scottish Cup. There are also still six Highland and Lowland league teams in the competition. They have not been allowed to return to league action after yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister. They are, however, allowed to compete in the Scottish Cup if they choose to do so.
And the SFA appear so desperate to complete the competition that the Record reports some lower-league clubs could be asked to simply step aside if they choose to mothball.
Scottish Cup situation isn’t going to be an easy fix; Celtic scheduled to face either Falkirk or Arbroath
With a null and void campaign being considered by Leagues One and Two, eight of the 10 clubs in either division would have to agree. Even if three were to turn down the offer, the league would have to continue on.
Even if cubs do step aside, it won’t affect Celtic’s schedule. We’re due to face either League One side Falkirk or Championship outfit Arbroath. If Falkirk were to mothball, Arbroath would simply get a bye to compete at Parkhead in the third round. But only if that’s the route the SFA go down.
There are other considerations for the lower leagues also. Travelling as well as a heavy fixture schedule will lead to yet more costs. With fans still locked out of football stadiums, it could be increasingly difficult for the clubs to afford it all.
In total in the Scottish Cup, there are still over 20 clubs from League One down still involved in the competition. So it could become a bit of a farse if so many clubs back out. It effectively degrades the competition and makes it a shootout between Premiership and Championship teams.
It looked as though we had some clarity yesterday. That the Scottish Cup would continue as normal as soon as could be allowed.
But with crisis talks still being held by Leagues One and Two, nothing is set in stone just yet.