Craig Gordon eligible for Hearts-Hibs Scottish Cup semi-final

New Tynecastle signing is not cup-tied despite being on Celtic team-sheet
Craig Gordon can play for Hearts in the Scottish Cup.Craig Gordon can play for Hearts in the Scottish Cup.
Craig Gordon can play for Hearts in the Scottish Cup.

New Hearts signing Craig Gordon is eligible to play for the club in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibs – and in the final should they progress.

Gordon was an unused substitute in Celtic’s fourth-round tie against Partick Thistle in January and is free to play in the remainder of the competition for Hearts.

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The Scottish Football Association suspended some eligibility rules for cup ties after the 2019/20 Scottish Cup semi-finals and final were postponed due to the coronavirus shutdown.

One of those was the rule stating a player can only play for one club in the same knockout tournament.

So, even if Gordon had appeared for Celtic in an earlier round, he would still be able to take the field for Hearts in their remaining ties. It also means no other player in any team can be cup-tied for the remainder of the Scottish Cup.

The suspension of those rules only applies to the 2019/20 competition, which the SFA plan to complete later this year if possible.

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Hearts are due to meet Edinburgh rivals Hibs in the last four, whilst Celtic face Aberdeen. Dates have yet to be set for both ties as the SFA wait to learn whether fans will be allowed inside stadiums.

“I was on the bench for a game but I obviously didn’t come off and didn’t play any Scottish Cup games, so I think that means I’m okay to play,” said Gordon, who left Celtic to sign a two-year deal with formative club Hearts over the weekend.

He added that he would have no problem coming up against old Parkhead team-mates if both teams reached the final.

“I’d feel great about it and I’d want to win the game, absolutely no problem whatsoever. I’d be doing everything I could to win the game for Hearts and be successful for our team here,” said the goalkeeper.

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“Everybody seems to worry about playing against ex-teams. I tried everything I possibly could when I was at Celtic to beat Hearts in those games and I would do exactly the same against Celtic now.

“I think people will look too much into that and say ‘the player’s not being respectful’ but you have to go out and try and win the game. I’ve always done the best that I possibly could in every singe game to make sure that my team wins.

“There would be absolutely no problem playing against them and trying to beat them. I’m sure their fans won’t be happy about that but that’s just football.”

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