PUBS hoping to cash in on Scottish Cup final revellers have been dealt a blow after police issued blanket objections to bids for longer drinking hours.
Licensing chiefs refused 21 applications for drinking hour extensions across the Capital following “strong” opposition from the police forces in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Most bars had hoped to open from 9am on May 19 to cater for the expected 50,000 Hearts and Hibs fans travelling through to Hampden but their bids were knocked back amid concerns over crime, disorder and public safety.
A handful of premises had applied for extensions from 1am to 3am on Sunday morning, with two seeking increased morning and night-time opening.
The tough police line was mirrored in East Lothian, where four bars were also barred from opening at 9am.
Four applications have been received in Midlothian – three for a 9am start and one to open at 8am – which are yet to be decided.
The pub industry has reacted with dismay to the news, arguing that the occasion of an all-Edinburgh cup final – the first since 1896 – provided a unique testing ground for longer licensing hours.
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said he had hoped for a more “lenient view” on early opening times.
“We thought in this case it might be considered a special occasion,” he said. “If people want to drink at that time in the morning where are they going to do it? If they are doing that in the house it can create its own problems.
“We would suggest that people drinking in a controlled environment like a pub rather than getting a carry-out is the preferred option. Here we have an opportunity in one of the biggest games in the history of both clubs and it might have been a good testing ground to see how it would work.”
However, a spokeswoman for the city licensing board said the Scottish Cup final would be a “momentous occasion” for the city and its aim was to “ensure that everyone enjoys this historic day”.
“The decision was taken to refuse all applications for extended opening hours based on strong objections from the police,” she said.
“An expected 50,000 fans will be travelling through to Glasgow for the match, with many more staying in Edinburgh. As a licensing board the safety of all these people is our main concern.”
Chief Superintendent Gill Imery, divisional commander for Edinburgh City, said: “Lothian and Borders Police and their partner agencies are committed to ensuring that the Scottish Cup final is able to be enjoyed by all of those who wish to see it.
“Robust planning for the policing operation is already under way and both Lothian and Borders Police and Strathclyde Police provided advice and guidance to the licensing board during their consideration of licence extension applications.
“The safety of all fans travelling to the match and those who choose to watch within a licensed establishment remains at the heart of all planning and we will continue to work alongside our various partners to ensure the day passes without incident.”
Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “We are pleased that the licensing board has decided not to extend any premises’ hours for cup final day.
“There is strong evidence that making alcohol more available by increasing opening hours is associated with higher levels of consumption and harm.
“Excessive drinking rarely just affects the drinker. The effects on other people like partners, children, and even strangers, can be devastating.”
Money is on Hibs, but bookies could pay penalty
AGAINST the odds, all the money is backing a Hibs win against their city rivals on Scottish Cup final day.
Experts at Ladbrokes say that since the tournament began at the start of the season the Easter Road club has accounted for 20 per cent of all stakes.
Most punters have backed Hibs to win the Hampden showdown on penalties which would hit the bookies in the pocket but send scores of households across north Edinburgh into rapture.
The most popular scoreline is a 3-2 win for the underdogs.
Other, more leftfield, wagers available for the momentous cup final include 25/1 for a streaker to dash onto the pitch at any time, 16/1 for either goalkeeper to score and 20/1 for the rival mascots to have a dust-up. Odds of 500/1 are offered for Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov, pictured, to be named as a substitute and 10/1 for First Minister Alex Salmond to don a Hearts shirt during the game.
n Odds to lift the cup: Hearts 8/15, Hibs 11/8, draw 11/5 in 90 minutes; Hibs win on penalties 10/1, Hearts win on penalties 10/1; Hibs win in ET 12/1, Hearts win in ET 9/1.
Our song is an internet smash
A CUP final song recorded by Evening News staff has now attracted 33,000 hits on YouTube after it was mentioned in yesterday’s paper.
The song – Go East by the Paper Shop Boys – is a spoof of the Pet Shop Boys’ 1993 hit Go West, first recorded by the Village People.
Much of the interest has come from expat Scots from the United States, Canada and Australia. The song has also attracted media attention with discussion on Forth One, Real Radio, STV, and the Guardian.
The lyrics are a celebration of Edinburgh with an occasional barb reserved for our near neighbours in Glasgow whose teams failed to make the final at Hampden.
Evening News editor Frank O’Donnell said: “Our role is to always put the people of Edinburgh and the Lothians first. Celebrating everything that’s good about the city is important. That’s why our Facebook site is called I Love Edinburgh.”
The video was recorded over two days in the Evening News offices and at locations across the Lothians.
Watch it now at www.facebook.com/edinburgh.evening.news
The forums are buzzing
@stateless21 Well done @edinburghpaper – you’ve done yourselves proud.
@DrCarse Brilliant Cup final video by Paper Shop Boys at @edinburghpaper previewing 1st all-Edinburgh final since 1896 #GoEast
@HolyroodPatter Bizarre how @edinburghpaper thinks the lack of buckfast is worth celebrating. It’s a disaster!
@RPearson081 Your #GoEast video is absolute class. Had my good lady in tears with laughter. Brilliant
98jamtart It’s a laugh promoting Edinburgh, Hearts and Hibs. A change from the usual sickly Cup Final songs sung by the teams. Maybe a wee bit of envy from the peepil in the West??? LOL
lorimcfadyen Love it! Dalkeith even gets a mention!!!
ceejaypeemac Glasgow no teams in final edinburgh with 2. Glasgow with no trams, Edinburgh with 22 brand new trams in storage. glasgow no soap, Edinburgh plenty of soap