Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne says Scottish football has “embarrassed” itself over the scheduling of the League Cup semi-finals.
The SPFL are reconsidering plans to stage both Aberdeen v Rangers and Hearts v Celtic at Hampden on Sunday October 28.
It now appears one game could be moved to Murrayfield with a lunchtime kick-off and the other played mid-afternoon at Hampden.
However, Murrayfield owners Scottish Rugby Union are understood to have demanded more information from the SPFL, with some reports saying they’ll ask for £300,000 to rent the ground.
Dons chief Milne said: “It’s good that common sense does seem to be prevailing. But once again we have embarrassed ourselves in how we run Scotttish football.
“We have once again displayed to the fans that they are not being treated properly.
“Semi-finals are special games for the fans and everything should be done to ensure the fans can make the most of the day.
“This is a massive occasion and a family occasion for the fans but it’s not being treated like that by the SPFL.
“I accept we are part of that organisation so I’m not saying all the blame lies with the executive running of the SPFL.
“But we’ve got to make sure this sort of situation never develops again.
“It’s been a total embarrassment for Scottish football the fact this has become the number one topic with MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.
“Everybody and their granny has got involved in this whereas if we’d handled this properly from the outset then there would have been none of this.”
The SRU are understood to be concerned over transport and policing arrangements at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield, given the short notice.
However, a final decision on the matches and their location was set to arrive as early as this afternoon.
Aberdeen, Hearts, their fans, politicians and police officers reacted with anger and bewilderment after the SPFL scheduled the League Cup semi-final clash with Rangers for noon on Sunday October 28 – before trains from the Granite City can get fans to the stadium – with Hearts pencilled in to face Celtic at the same stadium at 7.45pm that night.
After the timing came under fire from thousands of fans who signed petitions launched in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, as well as club bosses, politicians, rail chiefs and police union leaders, Police Scotland expressed doubts about the scheduling and called for a rethink.
The footballing body originally said both matches contractually had to be at Hampden Park, but has now said the venue has waived that obligation.
However, it has been reported Celtic have written to the SPFL asking for a venue decision for each tie to be decided by a blind draw.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster called the development a “potential game-changer”.
He added discussions would now take place “before reaching a definitive position, which we will announce as soon as possible to enable fans to make the necessary travel arrangements”.
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins had said: “We’re aware of issues and concerns that have been raised over the last few days about the date and venue of the League Cup semi-finals. As a responsible organisation and taking into account these public concerns, I think it sensible to discuss the issues raised with the SPFL and other stakeholders and I have asked the SPFL to look again at the transport plan so we can make a full public safety assessment.”
Evening Express editor Craig Walker said: “The SPFL’s decision to review the semi-final arrangements shows the power fans can have when they are united behind a common goal.
“Working with the Evening News on this campaign has also shown the influence local papers can have.
“There is no doubt the clout of two titles in two of our biggest cities working together will have played its part in forcing the SPFL into thinking again about the baffling semi-final decision and we welcome that change of heart.”
Evening News deputy editor Euan McGrory added: “This is a great example of two strong local papers working hard to make a difference to the lives of their readers.
“We knew that by teaming up with the Evening Express our message would be heard far louder than if we both worked alone – and so it has proved.”