HIBS and Hearts say they could sell enough tickets to triple their allocation for the first all-Edinburgh Cup final in 116 years.
Club bosses said unprecedented demand for the May showdown meant they would attract enough supporters to sell out Hampden, Celtic Park and Ibrox combined.
The historic clash has also seen a surge in demand for travel with several bus firms confirming they are already fully booked for the final – with many revealing they had been swamped with calls moments after opening this week.
To cope with the huge exodus, inter-city bus companies are expected to lay on extra vehicles but have warned fans to book early to avoid disappointment.
Fans travelling to the game by rail have been warned they can expect to face a blanket ban on alcohol.
British Transport Police and ScotRail are set to ban drinking on three different routes which will carry Hearts and Hibs fans to Queen Street and Central stations in Glasgow, it has been reported.
A summit between police forces in Lothian and Borders and Strathclyde, as well as British Transport Police and Edinburgh City Council, is to be held in the coming days to discuss the travel arrangements for the cup final weekend.
Meanwhile chip shop owners in Glasgow are stocking up on brown sauce to meet the demand by Edinburgh fans for what has been dubbed “the salt and sauce final”.
Club bosses today said phonelines at Easter Road and Tynecastle had been red hot since 8am on Monday.
Tickets for last year’s Europa League qualifier between Hearts and Tottenham are understood to have gone in under four hours, but club bosses believe cup final briefs will go even faster.
A spokesman for Hearts said: “The phones have been ringing off the hook. We are anticipating an incredible demand. We could sell double or triple our allocation.”
In an online statement, the club said: “We will provide ticket details later this week, so please don’t call the ticket office just yet.”
Across the city, Hibernian managing director Fife Hyland said there had been no respite in calls and e-mails.
“We have had a deluge of e-mails and phone calls to the ticket office,” he said. “It’s going to be the most popular game in recent history and getting tickets is paramount for Hibernian supporters.
“Similar to Hearts we have been putting out messages on Facebook and Twitter advising fans that we will know allocations later in the week – season ticket holders, though, are a priority.
“We could sell out our allocation two or three times – I’m certain of that.”
On the debate over which stadium should host the final – Hampden or Murrayfield – both Hearts and Hibs said they favoured the national stadium.
Mr Hyland said: “We want it to be played at Hampden. When I was growing up I didn’t dream of lifting the cup at Murrayfield, I dreamt of lifting it at Hampden. It’s the home of Scottish football and this is a showpiece for Scottish football. It has to be at Hampden.”
A Hearts spokesman said the cup final was the “jewel in the Scottish football crown” and Hampden Park was the “spiritual home of the game in this country”.
“As such, Heart of Midlothian will not be considering any other venue for the game on May 19 for what will be a memorable occasion,” he said.
n A staineD glass window believed to depict Hearts legend Bobby Walker is the subject of a police investigation after being removed from sale at auction over claims it belonged in the Station Tavern pub, it was reported today.
DAVID DEDICATED TO THE DERBY
EVENING News reporter David McCann is the city’s cup final correspondent and aims to bring all the drama, intrigue and high jinks of the build-up to you each day.
So if you are postponing your wedding, skipping your anniversary or travelling from Timbuktu for the big game he wants to hear from you!
Is your family divided on derby lines? Have you seen ticket touts cashing in? If you have a cup final tale to tell get in touch with him on 0131-620 8763, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter - @davidj_mccann
Tie belongs to Glasgow, whine west coast MSPs
GLASGOW is beginning to show signs of pre-match nerves, with the city’s politicians running to the Scottish Parliament to ensure the game stays at Hampden.
A day after the Evening News revealed 70 per cent of readers backed moving the match to Murrayfield and the city council prepared to call for a rethink, Glasgow SNP MSP James Dornan was sufficiently spooked to put down a motion in Holyrood.
Despite the SFA standing firm and both Hearts and Hibs ruling out playing anywhere other than Mount Florida, MSPs are now being asked to officially “ignore calls” to switch the match to the Capital.
Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie suggested west coast politicians had clearly been alarmed by the strength of support for Murrayfield. He said: “They have had it their own way for so long, but they have seen the weight of opinion against them and decided they had to weigh in.”
Mr Dornan’s motion insists that Hampden Park is the home of Scottish football, adding that “playing in a national final at the national stadium will be among the highlights of the players’ careers”.
The motion goes on to say the parliament “congratulates both Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian on reaching the final; looks forward to inviting both teams and their fans to what it considers to be Scotland’s greatest city, the wonderful city of Glasgow, and hopes that the best team wins”.
In a debate which looks certain to go to extra time, Edinburgh Western SNP MSP Colin Keir has tabled his own motion in favour of Murrayfield, noting the precedent of the 1896 final – the last between Hearts and Hibs – being held in the Capital, welcoming the SRU’s willingness to consider hosting the match and urging the SFA to reverse its decision.
The motion argues moving the final to Edinburgh would be “common sense” and would reduce costs for fans, cut travel and congestion and “allow an extra 15,000 people to watch the biggest Edinburgh derby in history”.
Mr Keir has already won the support of at least one Glasgow MSP, Nationalist Bill Kidd, for his motion. However, the Capital’s own MSPs are divided.
Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald, Green Alison Johnstone and Labour’s Neil Findlay all back Murrayfield.
Edinburgh North & Leith Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Pentlands SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald, Tories David McLetchie and Gavin Brown, Labour’s Kezia Dugdale and Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie, say the game should be at Hampden.
Undecided is Edinburgh Central SNP MSP Marco Biagi. He said: “The idea is worth discussion but the administrative and financial challenges, given the timescale, would be huge.
“Edinburgh fans can have a good time anywhere.”