Scottish League Cup: Clubs facing recruitment 'nightmare' ahead of season - Jim McInally

Dundee's Niall McGinn and Alex Jakubiak celebrate against Peterhead
Peterhead had six trialists in their squad as they lost 4-0 against Dundee on Saturday

Some Scottish clubs are facing what Peterhead manager Jim McInally suggests is a "nightmare" week desperately trying to sign enough players to be competitive ahead of the start of the Scottish League Cup group stage.

Scotland's longest-serving team boss has revealed that he has only 10 players available - and no goalkeeper - ahead of his part-time side's televised season kick-off against Aberdeen.

Meanwhile, the newest, John Rankin, has taken over a Hamilton Academical squad that has yet to feature a summer addition.

The pair spoke to BBC Scotland's Sportsound about the challenges ahead.

'Lowland League clubs are paying more than us'

McInally says his League 1 club can no longer compete in terms for wages with Lowland League outfits two rungs below.

Top-flight neighbours Aberdeen are their visitors for a sell-out League Cup group stage opener next Sunday.

"We've lost 14 players this year," McInally told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound. "I think we've got 13-14 signed players, but there's only 10 available for next Sunday."

Lowland League clubs are looking to repeat the progress of former champions Kelty Hearts and FC Edinburgh, who have just been promoted to League 1, and Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, who will be playing in League 2 after their title win last season.

Peterhead are one of Scotland's most northerly clubs and McInally says "logistically, it's a nightmare" when trying to compete.

"What I find is that the Lowland League have now got clubs that are spending more on wages than we are," he said.

"A few years ago we could maybe offer £100 more to a player from Glasgow and that would entice them up to Peterhead and now roughly on the same wages they can get it at Lowland League level and don't want to travel."

McInally revealed he presently has no goalkeeper after a loan deal with Aberdeen fell through because they were drawn against the player's parent club, while he has one player suspended and another picked up an injury in Saturday's 4-0 friendly defeat by Dundee in which six of their 17 players were trialists.

"We just need to hope we have a good week and we can recruit some players," he said. "But the league campaign is what it's all about and I'm trying not to be coerced or forced into signing players just for the sake of three or four games in the Premier Sports Cup.

"But, at the same token, you're not wanting to embarrass yourself."

'Salaries in football are becoming smaller'

Hamilton Academical head coach John Rankin
John Rankin says some players prefer to stay part-time and keep other jobs

Rankin revealed that he wants to sign two or three players this week, having becoming the Scottish Professional Football League's newest team boss after accepted the Championship club's offer to succeed Stuart Taylor as head coach only a week ago.

"Quite a quick turnaround for myself," he revealed as he looked ahead to his own side's opener away to Dundee. "We need bodies as well. A lot have left from last season and we haven't signed anyone yet."

Taylor's former assistant suggested he had a different problem from McInally - some players rejecting offers from full-time clubs like his own because they prefer to combine lucrative careers with playing part-time football.

"The salaries in football in general are becoming smaller, albeit you take out England and the major leagues," he said.

Meanwhile, others were holding out for bigger clubs or higher wages as "they see the start of the season as the last week in July when the league starts".

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport