Buckie Thistle manager Graeme Stewart is keen for their Scottish Cup participation to continue – but says health has to be the main priority.
With football in Scotland below the Championship suspended until at least February 14 it’s unclear as to how this season’s Scottish Cup may be finished.
It appears a lot will depend on when lower league football can resume, but, with 12 second round ties still to complete and the fixture calendar already congested, the tournament need to be carried over into next season.
Buckie are one of seven Highland League clubs left in the competition and have been drawn against Inverness Caley Thistle in round two.
Stewart is keen to play that tie when the time is right.
The Victoria Park boss said: “Of course we’d like to be in the Scottish Cup, we’d like to be playing the game and have fans there, that would be the best scenario.
“There’s a lot of things we’d like to do, but the most important thing in everyone’s mind has to be health and safety.
“People are getting sick and people are dying, so health has got to be the priority.
“Yes we would love to be in the Scottish Cup, but we have to wait and see if we’re allowed to be.
“If the SFA and the Highland League decide that we’re able to play in it and everything is safe, then we’ll be delighted.”
When it comes to the Highland League restarting, Stewart’s preference would be to wait until supporters can return to grounds.
With that unlikely to be the case any time soon, and with clubs having only played a handful of games this term, he can see the merits in calling off the 2020-21 campaign and resuming in August, when next season would start and fans may also be allowed to return.
He added: “We’re part-time clubs who rely on revenue from supporters – if we don’t get supporters in, we can’t go back, because it’s unsustainable.
“I’d like to hold off until we can get supporters back into grounds and generate revenue, because until we can get supporters back it will be very difficult.
“I think if you started again in August you’d have a good chance of getting as many supporters as you wanted.
“You can’t predict anything and nobody could’ve predicted where we are now, but that could be the case (that fans could return in August).
“This is just my opinion, not the club’s, but it seems to me the sensible decision would be to start again at the start of next season.
“I don’t know how that would work with the pyramid system, the Scottish Cup and other cup competitions. so it’s maybe a simplistic point of view.
“But I can see the merits. It would give everyone a bit of breathing space and less worries.”
Stewart appreciates the difficulties facing football’s decision-makers in the current climate.
He’s confident that when it comes to the Scottish Cup and the Highland League, the right decisions will be made by the respective organisers.
Stewart said: “It’s exceptional times that we’re living in. The people making the decisions just have to do what is best for the safety of everyone.
“Whatever they come up with, they will come to the right decision. The Highland League and the SFA will work together and they’ll come up with the right decision and, whatever they come up with, we’ll go along with.
“They’ll take the government guidelines on board and make the decisions and, whatever they come up with, the teams, players and management will have to follow.”