THE indefinite lockdown of Scottish football is set to plunge the Junior game into a crisis like never before, according to Pollok manager Murdie MacKinnon.

The 41-year-old, in full agreement with Scottish FA chief Ian Maxwell’s edict for football to take a backseat amidst these unprecedented coronavirus times, believes heading into uncharted waters without an endgame plan in place is leaving clubs not knowing whether to stick or twist.

MacKinnon's club Pollok go into the hat for the semi-finals of the Macron Scottish Junior Cup tomorrow, alongside Beith, Auchinleck Talbot/Hurlford United and Broughty Athletic/Darvel. SJFA chiefs will get the draw under way at 1PM at Hampden, even though there remains a strong likelihood that football in Scotland still be on hold on April 18 and 25 – the dates set aside for the double-header showpieces.

And the seasoned gaffer refused to rule out the prospect of the Junior Cup Final not being played for the first time since 1918, when Petershill were awarded the silverware. The Springburn outfit overcame St Mirren Juniors in the semis but the other duo – Parkhead and Renfrew – were disqualified for refusing to play their last-four clash on the Wednesday before the final.

“No one knows what might happen in the coming couple of days, let alone next month,” MacKinnon said. “The whole Junior game is in a state of limbo until talks take place and binding decisions are made.

“A straightaway consideration is that just getting the outstanding quarter-final ties over and done with in April looks a no-no, so new dates may have to be drawn up – probably in early May.

“And I cannot help but feel this SFA-imposed suspension will continue over the coming months, so a shutdown for the rest of this season will undoubtedly be one of the options on the table. I’m sure there will be others too, such as putting all competitions on hold for the foreseeable future or until the virus situation improves.

“But therein lies a huge dilemma for clubs like ours, because how can we possibly meet our contractual obligations to our players when our main income stream from punters coming through the gates on match days is denied us? How do I, as team manager, prepare the guys and keep them ticking over, when totally unaware of if and when we will be playing again?

“It’s just not practical and I cannot help but think just about every club will be holding talks this week with their players and asking them to take extended time off until definitive guidelines are forthcoming from the powers that be.

“It might mean calling a halt to this season which obviously doesn’t suit anyone connected with Pollok – least of all myself – and there’s no doubt different clubs will be affected in different ways but better to do something than nothing, even if it means timelines are set in stone for pulling the plug.

“An Extraordinary General Meeting had already been called for later this month to allow Pollok’s members to discuss the proposed move to the Lowland League set-up and I hazard a guess there might be another item added to the agenda.”

Murdie went on to reveal the ongoing situation has caused West Region Secretary Kenny Young to revamp the fixture list and Benburb are now lined up as Pollok’s next scheduled opponents.

He added: “No date has been arranged as you might expect but should the thumbs-up for a resumption of football be given in mid-April, just four weeks away, then the Macron Scottish Cup takes precedence as things stand. We would have both Paul Gallagher and Derek Esplin suspended going into our biggest game of the season, which would be grossly unfair on us as a club and the players themselves.

“Not knowing if we will play again or not is opening up a can of worms so better if a decision is made sooner rather than later.”

Any extended shutdown will enable Pollok’s long-term injured pair of David Barron and Ryan McGregor to return to playing action. Ex-St Mirren defender Barron is already back in full training while the latter’s return from cruciate ligament surgery is a month away at worst.

Murdie said: “David is at the stage where he needs match fitness but the SFA directive bans bounce games under any circumstances so his wait goes on as indeed it probably will for Ryan.

“But it’s pleasing to think two players of their qualities are on the comeback trail.”