Keith chairman Andy Troup is happy his club will be able to continue their Scottish Cup venture after its return dates were revealed.
The Kynoch Park side had an outstanding second round tie against League One side Clyde, which will take place on Tuesday March 23 along with ties for five other Highland League clubs.
To keep participating in the competition, those six clubs plus Fraserburgh – already through to the third round – will have to test their players each week in the run-up to the games.
Clubs cannot resume training unless all tests are returned negative and Troup estimates the three rounds of testing will cost them £1,500, with no external support available to cover those costs.
It comes at a time when there is still uncertainty over the Highland League season, with no firm plans for it to resume yet despite the Scottish Government giving the go-ahead for Leagues One and Two to get back underway.
“We’re delighted to be getting to continue our Scottish Cup journey,” said Troup. “Albeit there are financial constraints on the club for it.
“There is extra cost involved but the Scottish Cup is the biggest cup in Scottish football.
“We’re going to have three weeks of testing prior to the game and we have just about sorted that out. It has moved very quickly over the last couple of days.”
Should Keith get through to the third round then they would have a derby with League Two side Elgin City, at Borough Briggs on April 3.
All seven Highland League clubs still in the Scottish Cup were asked to remain on the Zoom call at the end of Monday’s League Management Committee meeting, to ascertain whether they wished to continue in the competition. They all indicated they did.
Prior to March 23, the seven clubs will also organise bounce games between one another, to provide some match-practice before their respective ties.
New dates for the 2020-21 Scottish Cup have been confirmed.
Second Round: Tuesday, 23 March
Third Round: Saturday, 3 April
Fourth Round: Saturday, 17 April
Fifth Round: Saturday, 24 April
Semi-Finals: 8 & 9 May
Final: Saturday, 22 May#ScottishCuphttps://t.co/1lnupVHxIK
— Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) March 3, 2021
League matters, however, will have to wait until further indication is given from the football authorities enabling them to return.
“It’s still very much on the back-burner,” added Troup. “But hopefully we can get it going. I’m very keen to get that competition going and get back to some kind of normality.
“We’re still waiting on guidance on it being able to start. The costs just aren’t sustainable for Highland League clubs, if we have to do the same level of testing we need to do for the Scottish Cup.
“But everyone’s aim is to get the league going and the season finished.”