BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Linlithgow Rose admit they are unsure how many players will be free for their on-off Scottish Cup trip to face Wick Academy next week after the tie was called off for a frustrating fourth time yesterday.
The East Superleague juniors originally made the gruelling 530-mile round journey to Caithness 11 days ago, only for the game to be postponed in farcical circumstances just 40 minutes before kick-off.
The West Lothian have since revealed they lost over £3000 because of the late call-off after they split their slog north with an overnight stay in Brora.
The tie was rescheduled for Saturday, only for Wick’s Harmsworth Park to fail a pitch inspection on Friday, which at least ensured Rose did not begin their arduous trek.
After another postponement for the next attempt to play the match on Monday, the teams were going to try again tonight – only for the surface to be again deemed unplayable when it was inspected yesterday.
The clubs have been set a new date of Monday, with an inspection planned for 3.30 p.m. on Sunday.
Linlithgow have already spoken of their difficulties in piecing together a squad able to get enough time off work to journey to the north-east on a week-day, and the repeated call-offs have added to their troubles.
Linlithgow secretary Jim Harkins said: “We did think there was a chance of it going ahead this time, so it’s disappointing.
“The players are trying their best but it’s very difficult when you’re in employment and you’re asking your employer to put you in for a holiday and then cancelling that and asking for another two days later, and then cancelling that as well.
“A couple of players would have missed Wednesday night’s game but we’ll just have to see where we’re at for numbers for next week now.
“Both clubs have agreed we’ll try again next Monday and Wednesday but we run out of agreement after that and it will be up to the SFA.
“If it doesn’t go ahead next week, our preferred option, and hopefully the preferred option of the SFA, would be to hold it over until January 9, the date of the fourth round. That has been mentioned in conversation.
“The winners would then have to play Forfar the following midweek. It’s not ideal but we can’t do anything about the weather.”