COVID-19 appears to have done what two World Wars failed to do in preventing the Scottish Junior Cup final from being played.

A frustrated SJFA president Felix McKenna said as much in the wake of a Zoom conference-staged meeting at which he and his management committee officials discussed the feasibilities over whether the held-over 2019/20 competition could be played before the end of this season.

It was a year ago that the quest for Macron-sponsored silverware came to a halt as the coronavirus escalated, with six clubs having survived.

The semi-final draw did go ahead and paired Glasgow giants Pollok with whoever emerged from the quarter-final clash of holders Auchinleck Talbot v Hurlford United, while 2016 trophy winners Beith were awaiting the outcome of a last-eight replay between Broughty Athletic and Darvel.

Hopes had remained high the competition could be resumed, but there was little optimism after the crunch SJFA talks, according to McKenna, who is serving an unprecedented fourth year in office.

“Unfortunately we have come up against the proverbial brick wall and cannot see how or when these games could have been played anytime soon. Arriving at suitable dates in light of the WoSFL’s ever-growing fixture headache was always a remote possibility at best and our problems were further exacerbated by the surviving clubs having previously made it abundantly clear they were dead against these Scottish Cup games going ahead without supporters in attendance.

“Early indications point to that possibility not coming into effect until late August/September time, which if it was the case - and remember it’s still a big if - does not reflect well on the credibility of the cup as it would have meant our outstanding ties would be getting played three seasons later than they should have been.

“After much consideration, we decided, with heavy hearts, that it would be best to pull the plug on 2019/20 and focus instead on a way forward for the Scottish Junior Cup.”

Only once before in Scottish Junior football history - in 1918 - has the prestigious tournament not been played to its conclusion. Petershill were awarded the silverware by default that season after semi-final opponents Renfrew and Parkhead took a united stand and refused to play for a third time, after two drawn games, just two days before the scheduled cup final date.

A "sine die" suspension was imposed on both sets of aggrieved club officials, a punishment later lifted at the end of the season, with Petershill, who had themselves taken three games to beat semi-final adversaries St Mirren Juniors, deemed to be trophy winners.

The decision to curtail the 2019/20 Scottish Junior Cup will come as a blow to all six remaining clubs, not least of all Broughty Athletic and Darvel, who were looking to have their name etched on the famous silverware for a first time. It will also be sorely felt at record 13 times trophy winners Auchinleck Talbot who were regarded as favourites to land a third Cup win in consecutive seasons.

The annulment was met with surprise by Pollok boss Murdie McKinnon, who had been thinking the contests might be able to place at the start of next season.

“Any club getting all the way to a Scottish Cup semi-final wants to play the games rather than have them called off and we’re no different in that respect. But having the current suspension on lower league football in situ has made those chances slimmer and slimmer with each passing week, particularly as the restrictions are showing no signs of being lifted without the added safeguard of players being regularly tested. Nobody needs to tell me the costs of these measures are prohibitive at our level so the obvious conclusion is the Scottish Junior Cup will not happen over the next few months.

“Nevertheless, scrapping it altogether is a real kick in the teeth for the clubs still standing and I’ll make a point of having a chat with Felix to establish whether he and the powers-that-be ever considered the possibility of playing the Cup as a pre-season competition.”

However, any last-ditch attempt to have the SJFA revisit their decision appears doomed to fail, especially as a growing school of thought is that the plethora of personnel changes in the teams is as good a reason as any for pulling the plug.

The Newlandsfield outfit’s playing squad includes Darren Christie (ex-Beith), Stephen McDevitt (Darvel) and Jordan Shelvey (Clydebank), all cup-tied with their previous clubs during the 2019/20 season as is Darvel midfielder Ross Caldwell (Blantyre Vics) as well as the Beith trio of Ally Park (Glenafton), Calum Watt (Hurlford United) and Derek Hepburn (Clydebank).

Having them participate for their new clubs in the same Scottish Cup competition would not have been tolerated in non-Covid times and this problem is likely to get even more complex if the summer months see a typical flurry of transfer activity leading to further high profile recruits joining the respective ranks of the six cup hopefuls.

With no return to action imminent for the Southside big guns, McKinnon will not be recalling any of his 14 playing charges out on loan, albeit only those at League One and Two clubs, Iain Russell (Cowdenbeath) and the defensive trio of skipper Paul Gallagher, Grant Evans and Mark Sideserf (Albion Rovers) will be afforded the opportunity to get some sought after match practice.

“Lockdown restrictions have ensured it’s only this week that Paul, Grant and Sidey have been able put in their first training sessions alongside the Rovers players and no doubt they’ll be champing at the bit over the prospect of pulling on the boots again.

“Beanie [Russell] is a different case as he’s been out at Cowdenbeath for a considerably longer period and has made several appearances, scoring a few goals into the bargain, including the 200th of his Senior career during a game against Brechin City. I couldn’t be more pleased for him as I was aware his signing for Pollok from Dumbarton when he was on 199 goals had appeared to kybosh his hopes of ever reaching what is a truly marvelous landmark.”