McInally feels sorry for Queen’s Park over SFA’s Hampden call

Peterhead manager Jim McInally.
Peterhead manager Jim McInally.

Jim McInally says he is pleased the SFA have chosen to stay at Hampden – but feels sorry for Queen’s Park.

With the SFA buying the national stadium the Spiders will play at Lesser Hampden from 2020.

Although pleased Hampden will remain the home of Scottish football the Peterhead boss has sympathy for the League Two team.

He said: “I’m pleased they’ve chosen to keep Hampden because I don’t think there was a better alternative.

“I couldn’t get my head round Murrayfield – that was a definite ‘no’.

“I am a bit gutted for Queen’s Park because I’ve got a lot of time for Queen’s Park and a lot of their history is being taken away from them.

“To say they’ve been forgotten about in this process is a bit of an understatement really.

“It seems as if they had little choice. It was almost like a gun to their head because they would have been left with massive debt if the SFA left Hampden.”

As a player and manager McInally has plenty of happy memories of Hampden.

He played in the Dundee United side that won the Scottish Cup for the first time in 1994, beating Rangers 1-0 in the final.

Another special moment in that run was getting the winner against Aberdeen in the semi-final replay.

McInally added: “We won the Scottish Cup which was great, but a massive moment for me came in the semi-final when I scored the winner against Aberdeen.

“As a wee boy I always dreamed of scoring the winner at Hampden in a big game so that fulfilled a dream for me.”

Another memory for McInally was playing for Scotland against Brazil at Hampden in the 2-0 loss in the 1987 Rous Cup.

He said: “It was something I had wanted to do all my life was play against Brazil.

“But I went into it off the back of losing the UEFA Cup final over two legs to Gothenburg that week.

“Then we’d lost the Scottish Cup final to St Mirren so I was really down mentally. We’d had a torrid end to the season. It was a game where I didn’t really feel ready to take part.

“It was in the Rous Cup and we played England first and I was rooming with Neil Simpson and he played them.

“On the day of the Brazil game the players in the squad who weren’t playing got a lie in.

“So Simmie was going down to do some training and strained a hamstring going down to breakfast. I’ll never forget, he came back up and said ‘You’ll need to see Andy Roxburgh, you’re playing because I’m injured.’

“It was great, though. I remember the first half because Brazil had Josimar at right-back who everyone was raving about and the late, great Davie Cooper ran him ragged.

“The other memory was standing on the line defending a corner and a Brazilian volleyed it from about five yards straight into my face. But it was a brilliant occasion.”

Another memory for McInally was playing for the last Scottish League select against Scotland in 1990, with the select team winning 1-0 courtesy of Hans Gillhaus’ penalty.

As a manager he guided Peterhead to the 2016 Challenge Cup final at Hampden against Rangers.

McInally said: “The select game got me back in the Scotland squad. I played well that day and won the penalty when Andy Goram brought me down.

“It’s a game nobody will remember but it’s unique to say you played in a team that beat Scotland at Hampden.

“The Challenge Cup final was great. It was a momentous occasion because Rangers will never be there again.”