Hearts’ Betfred Cup semi-final confirmed for BT Murrayfield

Hearts will return to BT Murrayfield on October 28 to take on Celtic
Hearts will return to BT Murrayfield on October 28 to take on Celtic
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Hearts’ Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic will take place at BT Murrayfield on Sunday, October 28 with a 1.30pm kick-off.

The SPFL have switched the venue following outrage over the decision to play both semi-final ties at Hampden on the same day. Hearts were originally scheduled to play at 7.45pm.

The match between Aberdeen and Rangers will now go ahead at Hampden on the Sunday but with a 4.30pm kick-off easing the travel difficulties faced by Dons fans by the original noon kick-off.

Celtic had written to the SPFL asking for a ballot to take place to decide the venues but that request has been turned down.

The SPFL confirmed yesterday they’d been released from a legal contract with Hampden Park Ltd which obliged them to host both semi-finals at Hampden and would look at finding an alternative arrangement.

Today, following discussions with the Scottish Rugby Union and Police Scotland, they were able to confirm the changes.

A spokesman for the SPFL said: “The Hearts vs Celtic match will kick off at BT Murrayfield at 1.30pm, with the Aberdeen vs Rangers game starting at Hampden at 4.30pm.

“In reaching our decision, we have consulted with Hampden Park, the Scottish FA, Scottish Rugby, Police Scotland, Transport Scotland via the Scottish Government and with the four clubs involved.

“A wide variety of issues have been considered, including the ability of local transport networks to safely and efficiently handle the flow of fans from all four teams to and from the stadia.

“As everyone now understands, this has been an extremely challenging and complex process, due in large part to a lack of alternative fixture slots.

“However, we warmly welcomed the Scottish FA’s intervention on Monday. This has given us the chance to quickly make alternative arrangements and we are grateful to the various stakeholders involved for their swift responses over the past 48 hours. We are now finalising details, subject to contract.

“As ever, it simply is not possible to satisfy the preferences of all parties involved and it is the responsibility of the SPFL Board to weigh the various factors and arguments before reaching a final decision.

“We will be announcing details of ticket allocations in the next few days and now look forward to focusing on the forthcoming semi-final matches between four of the top teams in the country.”

The SRU have promised a ‘great sporting occasion’ when Hearts take on Celtic in the Capital.

A spokesman for Scottish Rugby said: “We’re pleased to confirm our ability to host Hearts and Celtic in the Betfred Cup semi-finals on Sunday, October 28.

“We’ll be liaising closely with the SPFL, colleagues at Police Scotland and other relevant event partners to ensure the match is a great sporting occasion for the fans of both clubs.

“It’s a very short timescale, but our team at BT Murrayfield delivers memorable events and will be pulling out all the stops to give both teams the perfect stage to push for a place in the final.”