THE SPFL have announced they are in discussions to move one of the Betfred Cup semi-finals.
Both fixtures, Aberdeen v Rangers and Celtic v Hearts, were initially scheduled for Sunday October 28 at Hampden, with the Dons set to play the Gers at noon and the Hoops-Jambos game at 7.45pm.
Earlier today Police Scotland called for a rethink.
Dons chief executive Duncan Fraser said the club were “very angry” with the initial decision – after they raised objections to the idea at an initial meeting – with a Reds spokesman welcoming plans to reconsider.
The first train into Glasgow from Aberdeen on October 28 doesn’t arrive until after the semi was scheduled to start, meaning a transport headache for fans – something Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins cited.
Hearts are also understood to be delighted with the development.
This afternoon, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said in a statement Hampden Park Limited waiving a contractual obligation to host both semis was crucial to attempts to alter the time and location of the fixtures.
Doncaster said: “After the draw, we spoke to Hampden Park Limited to ask whether they would release us from a contractual obligation to host all semi-finals involving the Old Firm at Hampden. They declined our request and we were unwilling to breach this contract and risk legal action.
“However, I’m pleased to report that we have been contacted this morning by SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell who said that Hampden Park Limited has now reconsidered that position and have agreed to waive that legal obligation.
“This is clearly extremely welcome news. We immediately contacted Police Scotland and informed them of this development and this has enabled us to open talks to explore whether the match could be staged at an alternative venue in the timescales available.
“Whilst we are taking nothing for granted and are unable to make a definitive announcement at this early stage, if agreement can be reached between all parties involved, this would allow us to change from the original kick-off times which Police Scotland specified to ensure the matches could be staged at Hampden on the same day. The good news is that fans would have more convenient travel arrangements.
“Whilst we received firm assurances from both Hampden Park Limited and Police Scotland that they were able to host both games on the same day, today’s very welcome call is a potential game-changer.
“Everyone recognises that it would be better if we can hold these matches in separate stadia and the fact that we’re now able to explore that option is great news.
“We will now discuss with a number of parties, including the SFA, Police Scotland and the clubs involved before reaching a definitive position, which we will announce as soon as possible to enable fans to make the necessary travel arrangements.”
Murrayfield is understood to be the other venue being considered for one of the semis.