Relief for Hearts as SFA relax Scottish Cup rules to let new signings play
A temporary change to Scottish Cup rules means Hearts’ January signings have avoided being ineligible for next week’s rescheduled second-round tie at Brora Rangers.
The Edinburgh club would have been without up to eight first-team regulars altogether had normal cup regulations been in use. Those state that only players registered by the original date of a cup tie – which was January 9 for Brora v Hearts – can play in a rearranged fixture.
However, the Scottish Football Association have relaxed registration protocols for the delayed second round ties and will allow January signings made by all clubs to feature when the tournament resumes next week.
That means Hearts’ recent recruits Armand Gnanduillet, Aaron McEneff, Gervane Kastaneer and Gary Mackay-Steven can all take part in the Highlands.
The Edinburgh club will still be minus the suspended Michael Smith and Andy Halliday, with Liam Boyce and Craig Gordon also expected to miss out because of international duty.
A Scottish FA spokesperson told the Evening News: “For season 2020/21, the terms of competition rule 12.5 will not apply for outstanding round two matches only.”
Rule 12.5 states: “When a match which is postponed, drawn, or abandoned is played or replayed, only those players who were eligible, by means of their registration, to be listed on the official team line for a club at the date fixed for originally playing the match, are eligible to be listed on the official team line for that club for the rescheduled match.”
Hearts’ visit to Brora was originally delayed because Brora’s first-round tie at Camelon was repeatedly postponed. The Scottish Cup was then suspended due to rising Covid cases.