McKenna hits out at 'ridiculous' fixture schedule as Castletown reach a second final
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Castletown manager Tom McKenna has criticised the "ridiculous" fixture schedule that is stretching the club's playing resources to the limit.
Wednesday night's 1-0 victory over Lybster in the semi-finals of the David Allan Shield was Castletown's third game in six days and they are in action again on Friday in the Steven Cup final against Keiss.
Michael Smith got the only goal after 14 minutes at Back Park and the second division champions will meet Wick Groats in the David Allan Shield final in Thurso next weekend.
McKenna said: “It's ridiculous what we've been asked to do and we've got nine players out who would have started the game for us. That's why I'm having to play – we are really struggling. We're having to try and draft players in to fill the void.
“To ask these boys to do what they're doing at the moment is unbelievable.
"We're amateur football players. We've not got a chance to recover and rest and get going again.
"It's all go at the moment, and to give us that kind of schedule, I think it's ridiculous. Why can't the league just extend it another week?
“For the guys to turn up and put the shift in that they are doing, you've got to commend them. It's absolutely brilliant – their attitude, their drive, their enthusiasm, their will to win.”
Looking ahead to the Steven Cup showdown, McKenna added: “On paper, because we've won the league, we'll go down as favourites but at the moment we are really struggling for personnel.”
It was a frustrating night for Lybster, who lost three key players to injury.
Their manager Cameron Mackenzie said: “We didn't look like scoring. With two league games left we need to be miles better than that.
“Fair play to Castletown, it's never an easy game out here. They've always had a good core of players and they've battled well.
“I think they'll do all right in the first division next year.
“We're just going to have to keep our heads and go for it in our last two games. We need to try and get a win somewhere.
“But we need to be better than we were tonight – it was just not good enough.”
Castletown lost 4-2 to Swifts on Monday in the second leg of their Steven Cup semi-final Monday but 7-5 progressed on aggregate.
Results – David Allan Shield, quarter-finals: Castletown 2, John O’Groats 0; Lybster 3, Acks 3 (Lybster win 5-4 on penalties); Staxigoe United 1, Wick Groats 2; Wick Thistle 1, Pentland United 2 (AET).
Steven Cup, semi-finals, second leg: Keiss 2, Thurso Pentland 1 (AET, Keiss win 4-2 on aggregate); Swifts 4, Castletown 2 (Castletown win 7-5 on aggregate).
David Allan Shield, semi-finals: Castletown 1, Lybster 0; Wick Groats 3, Pentland United 1 (AET).
Fixtures – Friday – Steven Cup final: Castletown v Keiss (at Lybster, 7pm).
Saturday, August 6 – Highland Amateur Cup, semi-finals: Ness v Pentland United (at Culbokie, 1pm); Wick Groats v High Ormlie Hotspur (at Castletown, 3pm).
Monday, August 8 – Division Two: Keiss v Thurso Pentland; Swifts v Watten; Top Joe's v Castletown (7pm).
Tuesday, August 9 – Division One: Acks v Wick Groats; Pentland United v High Ormlie Hotspur; Wick Thistle v John O'Groats (7pm).
Wednesday, August 10 – Division One: Staxigoe United v Lybster (7pm).