Buckie Thistle chairman Garry Farquhar admits it is difficult to get too excited about Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie with Caley Thistle.
In ordinary circumstances it would be a tie which would draw huge appeal, however, with coronavirus restrictions tightening across Scotland and no spectators permitted at Victoria Park, Farquhar has not been swept away by excitement.
Buckie impressed in the first round, dumping out League Two side Albion Rovers with a 3-0 win at Cliftonhill. That was enough to earn them a plum tie against the Championship side, who sit 55 miles along the A96 from the Jags.
The tie was passed over for TV – as were all Highland League clubs – and chances of getting the game streamed live appear remote.
“It’s not ideal preparations at the moment,” said Farquhar. “Training is limited to a minimum for safety reasons, but I imagine everyone is in the same boat.
“Under the circumstances, it is difficult to get excited. Playing without supporters, there’s no real home advantage; it’s a completely different setup.
“There would ordinarily be a massive crowd at Victoria Park. It would be a big thing. The current conditions nullify it. It’s disappointing to get a draw like this and it be a closed-doors game.”
The Buckie chairman felt the game could have appealed to TV producers, however, the BBC opted to choose Queen’s Park v Queen of the South and Dundee v Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.
“I’m not sure what’s available under the SFA guidelines,” added Farquhar. “We spoke to Inverness about streaming it, but they have a system installed (for home games) and can’t afford to do it for us.
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“I thought it might be attractive for TV, with the proximity of Buckie and Inverness, but that’s not the case.”
Buckie’s Highland League game with Deveronvale was called off last weekend as a result of their opponents having several players self-isolating.
The announcement earlier this week of further “stay at home” instructions omitted any direct impact for football, with professional sport given dispensation to continue under the protocols established.
“I don’t know what the league will look at – (could they) put things to a halt with the current lockdown?
“We’ve got the grace of being professional sport, but we’re still putting guys at risk travelling across the north of Scotland. It’s also looking less and less likely fans will be back this season, although it was never that optimistic anyway.”