Stenhousemuir chairman brands Old Firm scheduling ‘disrespectful’ – BBC News

Stenhousemuir and the other 29 clubs in the SPFL’s lower leagues will play a 27-game season

Staging the first Celtic-Rangers match of the forthcoming season on the same day as the three lower leagues begin has been branded “disrespectful” by Stenhousemuir chairman Iain McMenemy.

Rangers are due to visit Celtic Park on Saturday 17 October, the date when the Scottish Championship and Leagues One and Two start their 27-game seasons.

McMenemy is concerned that the Old Firm game will hinder lower-league coverage.

“I found the decision disrespectful to the other leagues,” he said.

“We have a chance to re-engage and reach out to fans with all 30 clubs in the Championship, League One and Two all getting together, starting on the same day and having our own ‘Super Saturday.’

“Then unfortunately somebody at Hampden says, ‘Hang on, hold my beer, I’ll schedule the Old Firm game on that day and completely overshadow it’.”

While TV coverage may result in the Old Firm derby being moved to the Sunday, McMenemy argues that the match taking place on the same weekend will still have a damaging effect on the 30 lower league clubs’ efforts to attract fans.

“In the lower leagues we need to convince fans to come back in to our grounds,” said McMenemy on BBC Radio Scotland.

“We need to tell people that it’s safe, show people what it’s all about.

“They [the SPFL] have a computer system but they also plug in some key dates that they have to avoid. It can’t just be fully automated.

“There was plenty of opportunity to go a week forward, a week back, really promote the Old Firm game in its own right on another weekend, but also give the other leagues the chance to promote their games as well.

“The marketing for that week will be all about that Old Firm clash.”

BBC Scotland has approached the SPFL for comment.

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