A FOOTBALL club has been forced to abandon home advantage in the Scottish Cup – because the fixture clashes with an antiques fair.
Edinburgh City have switched tomorrow’s meeting with Fraserburgh from their Meadowbank Stadium home, which is set to be swamped by bargain hunters.
The semi-professional outfit made a plea to city rivals Spartans for use of their facilities and will now take on their Highland League opponents at Ainslie Park at 3pm.
Club bosses expressed disappointment at the forced move, but vowed to make the most of the artificial pitch in their bid to reach the third round – and a potentially lucrative meeting with Rangers.
James Lumsden, chair of Edinburgh City, said: “We are disappointed that we aren’t able to play at Meadowbank but we’ll just get on with it. Ainslie Park is a great venue with a great pitch and we are really grateful to Spartans for letting us play there.
“We knew there was an event beneath the stand when we got the dates for the Scottish Cup and put the bookings in at the start of the season, which would have been in July.”
Home crowds at Edinburgh City can peak at several hundred, and Mr Lumsden said he remained hopeful of a large turnout.
He said: “We’d be delighted to be in the third round draw and get as far in the competition as you can, but if Rangers were to come . . . well, we’d cross that bridge when we come to it. We wouldn’t be the only one who would want to get that draw.
“They come into the competition early because they would normally not be coming in until the fourth round and it makes for an interesting competition.”
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Leisure explained that holding the antiques fair during the game would have posed a significant fire risk. She said: “We make every effort to ensure that we are able to accommodate booking requests from all of our customers, and in particular regular users.
“Edinburgh City Football Club play at Meadowbank on a regular basis and we advised them a number of months ago that, should they get through to the relevant round of the Scottish Cup, we would not be able to accommodate a booking for a 2pm kick-off time on Saturday, October 5.
“The alternative of moving the fixture by one hour to enable the match to be played at Meadowbank was available– but the club didn’t take up this offer.”