The Scottish cup semi finals were always going to bring some kind of controversy with them.
With Rangers and Celtic both in the Europa League, it looked like one team would get the short straw. They’d play a huge European tie on Thursday and then a huge domestic tie on Saturday. It didn’t seem feasible.
So now both Scottish cup semi finals will be played on the same day. If that wasn’t mental enough, they’ll be played at the same stadium, Hampden Park.
For many, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. But there’s no denying it’s going to be a huge day for Glasgow. One hundred thousand plus supporters of Scotland’s four most supported clubs will be vibrating around the City from the morning to the wee small hours.
But who came off best?
Did Old Firm get special treatment?
The Old Firm undoubtedly come off better than anyone else. The truth is, had the ties to be played on separate days, it would need to be Celtic who played on the Saturday. They came out the hat first. Fair is fair.
As it turns out, Rangers will play Aberdeen at 12pm on the Sunday lunchtime. Hearts will play Celtic at 7:45pm that night. Pretty unheard of for a Sunday. That’s six hours between games.
For extra drama, if the Rangers and Aberdeen game got to extra time and penalties, they’ll only have five. It’s pretty wild at this point. The whole of Mount Florida swarming with four sets of fans on a big cup day. There’s also talk of the possibility of violence and disorder, but it never usually materialises.
I think both the Old Firm get a good deal here. Rangers get to play on the pitch first. But must play earlier. Something which could prove pivotal after their Europa League exploits. We’re at home to Spartak Moscow.
Celtic get more rest from their Europa League exploits. A short, but energy sapping jaunt to German side RB Leipzig. They’d moan if they got the 12pm.
No consideration for travelling fans?
Ok, so us Rangers fans are used to it. From Campbeltown or Stornoway, buses are leaving first thing on a Saturday or Sunday to take us to the furthest flung corners of Scotland. Or even just to Ibrox.
But for Aberdeen and Hearts these Scottish Cup semi finals are a big day out. Should they just grit their teeth and bare it?
One must travel miles first thing to make the 12 kick off. The other must travel miles back home on a Sunday night after 10pm.
Were both sides right to make statements?
Rangers beat Ayr United 4-0 to reach the semi final at Hampden, with Glenn Middleton taking the plaudits.