Gus MacPherson: Irn-Bru Cup is all about ‘political agendas’

Gus MacPherson has been critical of the changes to the Irn-Bru Cup. Picture: Alan Rennie.
Gus MacPherson has been critical of the changes to the Irn-Bru Cup. Picture: Alan Rennie.
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St Mirren’s technical 
director Gus MacPherson has waded into the argument over the Irn-Bru Cup by saying that it is no longer a tournament run for clubs, but a tournament run to support political agendas.

MacPherson, who won the Challenge Cup as it was back in 2005 as Saints manager, started the season in charge of Queen’s Park, who defeated Ayr United on penalties before being drawn away from home to Welsh side The New Saints.

Their reward for beating the full-time Welsh champions was a trip to St Mirren in the last round to face their Colts side, with MacPherson by then working for the Paisley club.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally has called for the organising committee to resign after the quarter
final tie between Dublin-based Bohemians and East Fife was pushed back from November until an unknown date in 2019.

The Irish football season will have finished three weeks before the 17 November date the game was due to be played on and McInally reckons that enough is enough in terms of how the competition has been treated since a major revamp two years ago.

MacPherson said: “I have been involved in this tournament for a number of years in a number of roles and I can say that it is no longer a cup tournament run for teams, but a tournament run to suit political agendas.

“The Colts team idea has not worked when you look at the attendances. The cross-border teams enter it knowing the rules, however they are allowed to operate to a different set of rules.

“The goalposts can change for fixtures as every­one has seen with the East Fife and Bohemians tie. That would not be done for a domestic Scottish team.”

MacPherson added: “I am sure that the organisers will say that they have made the changes to stimulate interest and generate finance. However, this tournament has nothing to do with finance, it is all about suiting one or two political agendas.

“The Challenge Cup used to be seen by fans as a genuine chance to win a domestic tournament with no agenda attached to it. In terms of stimulating interest, we had 10,000 fans at our final with Hamilton when we won it.

“There is interest there, but interest will not be stimulated when the cup is being run to suit political means.”