BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Edinburgh City chairman Jim Lumsden believes the introduction of automatic relegation from League 2 is the logical next step in Scottish football’s pyramid system.
The Lowland League champions travel to face Cove Rangers in the first leg of their playoff clash on Saturday after John Sheran’s men snatched the Highland League crown from Brora Rangers this term.
The winners go on to face the worst side in the league system, East Stirlingshire, over two legs for a place in the SPFL next season.
Last season Montrose defeated Brora to retain their League Two place – meaning that in the much-heralded inaugural season of the pyramid playoff system, the status quo was once again preserved.
While content that there is finally a route to league football for non-league sides, Lumsden is hopeful discussions will take place with a view to seeing the bottom club in League 2 automatically relegated, as happens in the Premiership, Championship and League 1.
He said: “That would be a natural progression and you could look at it as a natural next step.
“But we know that would take discussions among the authorities at a higher level than me!
“The financial implications of relegation from League 2 could be quite severe, so we can understand the barrier towards it, but hopefully it is something that people can have a chat about in the future.
“For the moment, we will just deal with the system as it is. We are delighted to be in the playoffs again and are really excited about the challenge ahead. We got a taste of it last year and hopefully we can go even further this time.”
City chief Lumsden admits the capital club were delighted to see Cove Rangers claim the Highland League crown – sparing them another nightmare trek to face Brora Rangers.
They lost out on penalties to the big-spending Sutherland outfit last season following a 420-mile round-trip, making Saturday’s journey to Harlaw Park in Inverurie seem comparatively modest.
Lumsden smiled: “The run up to Inverurie is certainly less of a trek, so it is certainly beneficial in that regard. Brora was an almighty trip and we needed an overnight stay for the away leg.
“With it being that bit closer, I think we’ll get a couple of supporters buses going up,so it’s good for the fans as well.
“But we’re under no illusions about how tough this is going to be. Any side which wins the Highland League are going to be a top side, make no mistake. We know how good a side Brora are, so to have beaten them to the title – we know Cove will be a superb side.”