John McGlynn fears SPFL shut-down will last a ‘long, long time’ as he reflects on postponed Challenge Cup final


JOHN McGLYNN has his fingers crossed that Raith Rovers could still get their shot at glory.

However, that is a case of hope rather than expectation – because the Stark’s Park boss reckons it will be ‘a long, long time’ before a ball is kicked again in Scottish football.

Saturday was supposed to see the Fifers cross swords with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup final but the coronavirus outbreak has put paid to that clash.

It remains to be see whether the 2019/20 campaign can be completed and, if so, where the McDiarmid Park showpiece would fit into a rejigged calendar.

And on what should have been a memorable afternoon for the club, McGlynn has sympathy for his charges.

“The health and well-being of the nation is of the utmost importance right now but, speaking purely in football terms, it’s a shame for the players,” said McGlynn.

“For any professional player, and especially those who aren’t at the very top level, opportunities to lift a trophy and walk away with a winners’ medal don’t come around that often.

“They did so well to get there – beating a Championship side in Partick Thistle in the semi-final – and hopefully there could still be a point at which this cup final could be played.

“There’s no reason why it couldn’t be – it’s one game. I understand getting the leagues finished, if possible, is the priority but squeezing this cup final in somewhere should also be on the agenda.

“However, that’s IF we get the green light to play again.”

And McGlynn is in a halfway house between realism and pessimism as he considers the current state of limbo all SPFL clubs find themselves in.

He has put individual training plans in place to keep Rovers’ stars fit and sharp during lockdown, but the former Hearts and Livingston manager candidly admits that he is struggling to retain his own motivation for a campaign that appears destined to peter out.


“The boys have all got individual programmes and are working from home,” explained McGlynn. “We have some technology but it’s not the top-notch stuff that some bigger clubs have and – to be quite honest – I don’t see us playing football for a long, long time anyway.

“I’m not motivated, so it’s hard for my players to stay motivated. You need some light at the end of the tunnel, you need some clarity, and I’m not expecting any.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that the SFA and SPFL response group are looking for guidance from UEFA or government.

“But if they could make a decision sooner rather than later, it could save clubs.”