Evening Express

Peterhead’s McInally pleased fizz taken out of row as Irn-Bru fixture fixed

Peterhead manager Jim McInally

Peterhead manager Jim McInally hopes a lesson has been learned after their Irn-Bru Challenge Cup fixture fiasco was resolved.

The Blue Toon will face Bohemians from the Republic of Ireland in the second round of the competition at Balmoor on Saturday September 8 with kick-off at 3pm.

The draw was made a fortnight ago and a potential clash emerged after the Dublin team beat Galway United last Friday to reach the third round of the FAI Cup.

The scheduled date for the third round tie with Derry City was Friday September 7.

The SPFL had been unaware of the date clash when the draw was made and it was only flagged up when League of Ireland side Bohs released a statement telling their fans not to make travel arrangements for the tie with Peterhead.

Discussions had been ongoing between the clubs, the SPFL and Police Scotland, but the problem has been solved because Derry have had players called up for Northern Ireland’s Under-21 squad to face Luxembourg on September 6 and Spain five days later.

As a result the FAI Cup game between Bohemians and Derry has been postponed which means Bohs are now able to play Peterhead a week on Saturday.

Buchan boss McInally is pleased the issue has been resolved and hopes something similar can be avoided in the future.

He said: “It’s a lesson to be learned by the SPFL that they need to look more into these things.

“They might have got away with one with the situation with Derry’s players being in international squads otherwise they might have had a real situation. Hopefully a lesson has been learned.

“It’s good that it has been sorted.

“The club already had a sponsor for the game and hospitality sold, so it’s good because it means they can let those people know what’s happening.

“Bohemians will probably bring a few fans over if it’s a Saturday because it will be easier to travel.

“We always wanted the game that weekend and hopefully we can get Mick Dunlop and Paddy Boyle involved in it.”

The Blue Toon’s general manager Martin Johnston is also pleased the problem has been solved.

Not having a set date and kick-off time before yesterday – with the game only 10 days away – had caused the Balmoor outfit a number of problems.

Johnston said: “It was important for us because as a part-time club we rely on people giving up their time to help us out on matchdays.

“We’re reliant on people giving up their time and we have to give them reasonable warning.

“Police Scotland were keen to be prepared because it’s a game of high interest that was just over a week away and they didn’t know if they would have to change staff shift patterns.

“We may be a little club but we are a well-oiled organisation and we have a duty of care to our staff and our sponsors.

“We have around 160 people who dine regularly pre-match. They need to be told what’s happening and these people thought we didn’t know what we were doing when it was out of our control.”