Shetland FC Forced to Withdraw From Jock Mackay Cup

The Shetland senior football team have been forced to withdraw from their defence of the Jock Mackay Memorial Cup after a series of weather-related cancellations to their scheduled quarter-final clash with Halkirk. The fifth rescheduling of the fixture to this weekend has unfortunately come too soon for the squad, who could not commit to fielding a team at such short notice.

With the semi-finals of the competition due to be played next weekend, this weekend was the only viable date for the fixture however several members of the squad were unavailable to make the trip. Given each team have three opportunities to fulfil their tie, Shetland managers John Scott Christie and Allan Graham had no alternative but to withdraw from the competition, thus surrendering their crown.

“After being given only a few days notice for the rearranged fixture, it really has been impossible to get a squad ready”, explains the understandably disappointed Christie. “The players and coaches unfortunately had prior commitments this weekend after making great efforts to go to Halkirk last Saturday.”

The quarter-final tie has twice been called-off because of ferry cancellations and twice because of unplayable pitches, including last weekend when the squad had already travelled to Orkney. Despite windy and wintry forecasts, the squad travelled down to Kirkwall on Friday night fully expecting the match to go ahead on Saturday afternoon.

However, just hours before kick-off, Recreation Park was deemed unplayable and the squad were forced to turn around and head for home. To worsen the blow, the Hjaltland’s Kirkwall-Lerwick leg was cancelled on Saturday night, meaning many of the squad only returned home to Shetland on Monday morning.

Shane Jamieson, Shetland’s deputy captain for the unfit Leighton Flaws, has also expressed his frustration. “It’s obviously a disappointment for everyone involved, players and management, not having the opportunity to defend the cup we won last year. Unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out for us with the weather and the logistics of living in Shetland, and nearly everything that could have gone wrong, has.”

Despite the disappointment, Jamieson hopes the setback can spur the managers to seek alternative fixtures on the mainland. “Hopefully we can get another fixture South to get ourselves up and running competitively with the new management and the boys can hit the ground running come the county and building towards next years’ Island Games.”

And Christie has confirmed that he is in the process of contacting teams in Aberdeen with the hope of arranging a couple of friendlies before the Shetland season kicks off in late March. In addition to this, the Scottish Amateurs squad are scheduled to travel up in April in what will be a testing fixture for the current squad.

The squad are set to continue their winter training sessions in preparation of these friendlies and both the managers and players will be hoping for better luck in their competitive schedule next season.