Change of Scottish Cup date not an option as Wick Academy head to Cowdenbeath on Boxing Day
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Wick Academy manager Gary Manson says he will understand if any of his players are unwilling to make the journey to Fife for the club's Scottish Cup match against Cowdenbeath.
The Scorries won 3-1 after extra time against Musselburgh Athletic at Harmsworth Park on Monday night to earn a tie against the League Two side on Boxing Day.
That is when the whole of mainland Scotland enters level four of Covid-19 restrictions for three weeks amid concern about the rapid spread of a new strain of the virus in parts of the UK.
Academy made an attempt to delay the first-round game at Cowdenbeath's Central Park until Monday or Sunday, but have been told it has to go ahead on December 26.
"We tried our best," Manson said. "We tried to get it rearranged for the Monday but the SFA said no to that because there's a televised game that day. We tried to get it on the Sunday but Cowdenbeath wouldn't play it on the Sunday.
"We've explored all options but we have to go down there on Boxing Day, I'm afraid.
"I said to the players after the game that it's their own personal choice. It's not just Boxing Day, it's the Covid situation as well. The full country is going into lockdown on Boxing Day, so if they're not comfortable travelling down to the central belt to play a game of football then I have no problems with that whatsoever.
"We'll just need to play it out and see what happens."
The second preliminary round tie against Musselburgh went ahead at the fourth attempt after Harmsworth Park was finally passed as playable.
Craig Gunn netted two penalties for the Scorries and Mark Macadie made sure of victory in the closing stages after Mathu King's equaliser had forced the tie into extra time.
It's not just Boxing Day, it's the Covid situation as well.
Musselburgh had their keeper Ryan McGurk sent off midway through the second half for handling outside his box, and the East of Scotland League side's manager Kevin McDonald was also shown the red card and ordered away from the technical area for alleged remarks to referee Lee Robertson after the second penalty decision.
The opener came after 12 minutes when Sean Campbell was bundled over in the box by Jono McManus. Gunn stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick to McGurk's left as the keeper dived the other way.
After McGurk's dismissal, Musselburgh got themselves back on level terms in the 84th minute when Callum Donaldson's cross from the right was nodded in by King from the centre of the penalty area.
Academy were awarded a second penalty 11 minutes into extra time when Mark Macadie's effort was adjudged to have struck an outstretched arm. Gunn chose the other side this time, sending the ball to the right of replacement keeper Ross McRae.
With three minutes remaining Sean Campbell had an attempt blocked by McRae only for Mark Macadie to seize upon the rebound and fire the ball high into the net.