Peterhead manager Jim McInally says he’s “not pleased” his spat with Hearts owner Ann Budge over the latter’s SPFL reconstruction proposals “hurt her personally”.
Last week, the Blue Toon boss accused Budge of trying to “bully” lower-league teams over her desire to install a temporary 14-14-14 league set-up in the wake of Scottish football’s coronavirus shutdown.
McInally says current League One sides Peterhead, Stranraer and Clyde, as well as League Two champions Cove Rangers would suffer if the plan, which would keep the Jambos in the top-flight, is approved by clubs.
At the weekend, Budge said Scotland’s longest-serving manager’s words against her were “personal” and “extreme”.
Speaking on this week’s Northern Goal podcast, McInally said: “I’m not pleased I’ve hurt her personally. I don’t know her and I’m sure she’s far from being a bully.
“I just felt with her actions since this started – by threatening her players if they didn’t take a 50% cut she’d invoke clause 12 on them, and she’s threatened two or three times about speaking to QCs (over relegation) – I just feel, even in her letter last week where she said the ‘Premiership needs Hearts more than the Championship, and the Championship needs Partick more than League One’, that’s not being united, there’s a division there in what she’s saying.
“But I didn’t want to call her a bully, I just felt by her actions she was being pretty forceful in what she was doing. I’ve not changed my opinion on that.”
In an episode where he discusses what lies ahead for the game, as well as looking back on his days playing under managerial icons Brian Clough, at Nottingham Forest, and Jim McLean, at Dundee United, and his time at Balmoor, McInally said he has sympathy for Hearts after the early end to the season condemned them to the drop and is in favour of reconstruction – just not 14-14-14.
He suggested a 14-10-10-10 set-up, which would expand the top-flight to include Hearts and Inverness, as well as allowing Lowland League side Kelty Hearts and Highland champions Brora into the SPFL, is a better option.
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