SCOTTISH CUP

The place to discuss Scottish football
LEATHERSTOCKING
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SCOTTISH CUP

Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:47 pm

Scottish Cup 1st Round and its high time the SFA brought back the North & South Qualifying Cups. Some of the travelling required today was quite ridiculous - Lossiemouth to Dalbeattie, Hawick to Fraserburgh, Threave to Golspie, Girvan to Huntly, Brora to Newton Stewart (with a replay to come), Wick to Kirkcudbright (735 miles round trip!) & Forres to Wigtown (Wigton?). Most of these journeys are going to take about 8 hours so supporters aren`t going to be tucked up in their beddybunks until well after midnight. National ties are OK perhaps from the 3rd Round onwards but surely not on the very first rung. Even the Scottish League has sensibly regionalised its Challenge Cup 1st Round.

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Post by ScottishFA » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:02 pm

Have to agree, especially when the tournament is without a sponsor so there are no fringe benefits.

I'm all in favour of expanding the tournament to bring in junior clubs, and other SFA non-members (eg Crichton, in today's draw as South of Scotland League champions). But for all the intrigue of having journeys into the unknown, some of the trips are a bit ridiculous.

Imagine you are the Newton Stewart player taking a last minute penalty at home to Brora, knowing that if you score, and equalise, your club will have to travel there the following weekend. Fair play to him, he did score and the cup dream lives on. But at what expense?

Perhaps the lesson from history can be that of the mid 1950s, the last time the SFA scrapped the qualifying cups in favour of a national all-in draw. The experiment lasted three seasons before sanity prevailed and the cups were regionalised again.

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Scottish Cup

Post by kiwiscot » Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:37 pm

Should the lower division(s) of the SFL be regionalised for the same reason, ie Stranraer to Elgin. Then again the Scottish junior cup is an all in draw from round one and the Junior teams have long accepted this. I personally would like to see an amalgamation of senior non league teams with the juniors and a new national non league cup competion with say the quarter finalists qualifying for the season afters Scottish cup proper.

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Post by Alan McCabe » Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:48 am

Its a uniquely Scottish quandary I reckon.
While I agree that the lack of sponsors' money must cause some of these small senior sides real financial heartache, their junior cousins have been operating an all-in national draw for years now and the participants seem very happy with that format.
Admittedly the senior non-leaguers populate the most remote areas of our country (i.e. Highlands & North of Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway & the Eastern Borders) while the juniors, with the odd exception, operate in a slightly narrower geographical zone.
Andy's point regarding the Newton Stewart penalty taker and his 89th minute spot-kick is indeed an interesting one. I wonder how many, if any, of their tiny number of followers at Blairmount Park was half thinking 'Please miss it'? Then again, its their day in the sun so I assume they celebrated to a man when it hit the net.
I'd like to see an increase in the entry field from both the senior non-leagues and the juniors, but only if the club has an enclosed ground. While Crichton are in the competition on merit, they are no different to a whole host of long-term competitors that play on roped-off public parks. I feel these clubs should be forced to permanently enclose their pitches for Scottish Cup participation. Further, I would like to see the junior complement raised to sixteen, but again on the proviso that the club possess an enclosed ground. Something along the lines of both Scottish Junior Cup finalists plus the best fourteen placed Super League clubs outwith the Junior Finalists (6 from West, 5 from East and 3 from North) would allow the opening round(s) to be drawn on a North, Midlands and South basis.

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Post by Skyline Drifter » Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:59 pm

I believe the Crichton are playing at Annan Athletic's ground, not their own, in the Scottish Cup if they actually play a home tie.

As for the geographical issue, I don't really have a strong view on whether or not the rounds should be regionalised. However, to suggest most of the journeys will take 8 hours or so is probably exaggeration. According to Google maps none of them take that long, the longest being Wick to Kirkcudbright at 7hrs 18 minutes and the rest mostly between 5 and 6 hours. I guess on a bus and stopping for a meal somewhere they'd be longer of course but then clubs in England for instance often undertake much longer journeys.

I wouldn't have thought the lack of a sponsor actually makes any direct odds to the clubs competing at this stage as the SFA self sponsor it anyway to the same value do they not?

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Re: SCOTTISH CUP

Post by Scottish » Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:27 pm

LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:. Some of the travelling required today was quite ridiculous.
I agree. The SPL should never have made Killie travel to Inverness :oops:

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Post by Scottish » Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:42 pm

Skyline Drifter wrote:t then clubs in England for instance often undertake much longer journeys.
That's true - but generally not clubs of a similar standard. The FA Cup is regionalised right throughout the qualifying phase and IIRC the 1st and 2d rounds used to be drawn on a North/South basis too. For example last season the first non-geographical round was the 1st round proper. There were 51 ties, including replays, and only two of them drew less than 1,000 fans.

I think making the 1st round national was the quid pro quo for admitting the juniors. While the North would have been relatively unaffected by this the non-league clubs in the South could have been hit hard with the potential loss of three of their four qualifying places had junior teams been successful in the Qualifying Cup. It also made sense for the junior teams being admitted as an all-in Scottish Cup adds fewer fixtures than a qualifying tournament which could have added as many as five games to the fixture list.

Crichton are an interesting development. They've qualified on merit but would never have been allowed to enter the Qualifying Cup.

Burnie_man

Post by Burnie_man » Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:05 pm

Skyline Drifter wrote:I wouldn't have thought the lack of a sponsor actually makes any direct odds to the clubs competing at this stage as the SFA self sponsor it anyway to the same value do they not?
I understand that the SFA self-fund the prize money at the moment, and clubs appearing in the 1st round received £2,000 each, more than enough to pay for a bus upto Brora.

Junior clubs operate on an national basis for the Junior Cup and receive very little expenses. The reason they tolerate this as nothing beats an away day to somewhere "exotic" like Lossiemouth or Kirkconnel......

LEATHERSTOCKING
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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:46 pm

I still think the Qualifying Cup should be reintroduced. There`s nothing to stop North, Midland & South competitions with the 12 semi finalists going into the Cup`s 1st Round. This would give the southern seniors a good chance of getting a couple of sides into the Cup if that`s what`s worrying them. The non league 12 would then be joined by the bottom 8 from the 3rd Division for the Cup 1st Round and the 10 winners would be joined by the next 14 Scottish league clubs for the 2nd Round (top 2 in the 3rd, all the 2nd & the bottom 2 from the 1st). The 12 winners would go through to a 3rd Round comprising the 12 SPL side plus the top 8 from the 1st Division & the 12 2nd Round winners for a 16 game 3rd Round a la the 30 seasons up to 2006-07. Simple.

Burnie_man

Post by Burnie_man » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:25 pm

The reason there is straight entry into the 1st round was so that members support could be "bought" to allow Junior sides into the competition, and to be honest I much prefer it over a qualifying competiton.

The only way I see a qualifying competition being re-introduced is if - when - more Junior sides are allowed in and more senior non-league sides qualifying for SFA membership.

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:34 am

At a time when the "everyone`s a winner" attitude prevails I`d have thought the chance after a few games to win a qualifying cup would be quite attractive to clubs & to (minor) sponsors. The lesser senior non league clubs in Scotland will live to regret the in troduction of junior clubs into the Cup because it will soon push them even further dowbn the pecking order. The juniors seem to want the cream without wanting to lose their independence. Can the East of Scotland League clubs now play in the Junior Cup or in junior leagues? No, I thought not. What`s now the point of the SJFA & its leagues?

Burnie_man

Post by Burnie_man » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:48 pm

LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:Can the East of Scotland League clubs now play in the Junior Cup or in junior leagues? No, I thought not. What`s now the point of the SJFA & its leagues?
Have they asked? as far as I am aware no senior non-league club have asked to be allowed to compete in the Scottish Junior Cup whilst remaining in the senior non-leagues. If and when that ever happens then I'm sure the SJFA will look at it.

We have of course the example of Girvan, who saw their future in the Juniors whilst retaining SFA membership, and Spartans made a similar enquiry last season, so the Juniors can't be doing too badly.

Further integration needs to be encouraged rather than allowing a "them and us" atitude to exist.

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:01 pm

Any ful kno there should be but one football authority in Scotland with an all embracing league pyramid system but I think the Ayrshire & Tayside juniors are as agin it as are the minor seniors.

Burnie_man

Post by Burnie_man » Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:07 pm

LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:Any ful kno there should be but one football authority in Scotland with an all embracing league pyramid system but I think the Ayrshire & Tayside juniors are as agin it as are the minor seniors.
I am in complete agreement, to still have Senior and Junior non-league in this day and age is ridiculous, but until someone (the SFA) take a serious grip on the issue and come up with suggestions which is acceptable to all then it's not going to change.

The Scottish Cup can be viewed as the first step in breaking down the barriers, but I am told that a Pyramid system does not rate too highly on the list of Gordon Smith's priorities, although he is looking at it (and coming up with some really silly suggestions).

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Post by Scottish » Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:44 pm

In the absence of a pyramid (and that would certainly be preferable) there's a relatively easy way to 'solve' the problem of progression between leagues. Take the three regional junior title winners, the three main senior non-league title winners and the bottom two in the Third Division. Two two-leg ties with the winners joining/staying in the league. No seeding other than making sure the existing league sides can't play each other.

It adds only four more games to the season - the same as in the existing league play-offs. Oh and while we're about it second bottom in the SPL should meet second top in the 1st division as well.

Potential problems? Let's say the eventual winners are Cove Rangers and Banks O' Dee and the league clubs dropping out are Albion Rovers and East Stirling. Yes, that means a re-arrangement of the 'feeder' leagues and it may mean an odd number of teams in some divisions. But the SFL 2nd division operated like that for the best part of two decades from 1955 and several leagues have odd numbers now - the Highland League being a prime example.

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