Spartans to face Threave for Ramsdens Cup place

EAST of Scotland League side Spartans will battle it out with South of Scotland League outfit Threave in a two-legged July play-off for a place in next season’s Ramsdens Cup.

As part of a minor revamp for the competition, the number of Highland League clubs invited to take part in the tournament will drop from two to one, with the other available place taken up by the winner of the East-South play-off.

From the Highland League, Formartine – who finished second behind Cove Rangers – have been asked to take part for the first time as their set-up is more compliant with the SFA’s programme than the Aberdeen side.

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Edinburgh club Spartans and their Castle Douglas opponents – who finished third and fourth in their respective leagues – will face each other on Saturday, 13 July and Saturday, 20 July to determine who will go through to the first round on Saturday, 27 July. A draw to decide which team will be at home in the first leg will be made next week.

In spite of the decision earlier this week to merge the SPL and SFL, the offices of the SFL at Hampden remain busy – with contingency plans for the home fixtures of Falkirk, Hamilton Academical and Queen of the South high on the agenda.

The Falkirk Stadium, New Douglas Park home and Palmerston Park are all converting to artificial playing surfaces – which require time to bed in – and, as a result, the clubs are hoping not only for away draws in the Ramsdens Cup but for away fixtures when the league season starts.

Contingency plans have been drawn up should installation work stretch beyond the 10 August date which represents the second week of the new season with Queen’s looking to move to Annan, Falkirk to Alloa and Hamilton to Clyde.

SFL Operations Director David Thomson said: “We have dealt with situations like this before but never with three clubs at the same time, so there is an added complication level.”

Regarding the future for the SFL staff ahead of the formation of the new Scottish Professional Football League, Thomson added: “It is a small team at the SFL but it is a very diligent and professional team.

“Between us we have over 150 years of experience in helping run football in Scotland so the way the people here are going about things is no surprise to me.”

“I am sure issues will become clearer before the first meeting of the new board on 27 June.

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“In the meantime, we will deal with day-to-day challenges, have the new season’s fixtures ready for next Wednesday and continue to push forward the preparations for the reserve leagues, youth divisions and two national cup competitions that the SFL also ran.”