SPFL fear fixture headache if both Rangers and Celtic make it to Hampden semis

Rangers' Ross McCrorie in action at Hampden (SNS Group)

THE SPFL are concerned about a potential fixture headache involving the Old Firm and Hampden Park.

The historic ground, which will continue to be the home of the Scotland international side, is scheduled to host the League Cup semi-finals over the weekend of October 27-28.

But there could be a problem for the League.

Should Rangers and Celtic win through their respective quarter-finals, against Ayr and St Johnstone, and then be drawn apart in the semis, they won’t be able to play both ties at Hampden.

Neither Old Firm club can play on the Saturday because they’ll be in Europa League action two days earlier, Celtic in Leipzig and Rangers at home to Spartak Moscow.

With a full Premiership card scheduled for the following week, moving one tie back to the Monday is not a possibility.

Realistically, that would mean the League having to play both games on Sunday 28th, one at Hampden on the Sunday and the other at the home of the Old Firm club away at the national stadium with a coin toss to determine which got the choice.

Meanwhile, the national stadium, Ibrox and Celtic Park would all be likely to feature in any joint UK bid to host the 2030 World Cup, a possibility which has the backing of Theresa May and Holyrood.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The decision to bid for hosting the World Cup would be a matter for the football authorities.

“However, Scotland is recognised for its strong track record at hosting major events, including the recent European Championships in Glasgow, and we would consider any proposal seriously should one come forward.”

The Scottish Government has also meanwhile reacted to news of confirmation Scotland will be staying on at Hampden beyond 2020, stating their hope that Queen’s Park can adapt to the change from owners to tenants.

“Football is enormously important to Scotland – it’s our national game – and we note the decision taken by the SFA to remain at Hampden Park,” said a spokesman.

“The Scottish Government has engaged extensively with the Scottish FA and other interested parties on this important issue over the past 18 months and appreciate the many challenges in reaching this decision.

“In particular, we recognise how difficult it has been for Queen’s Park given its long-standing and deep-rooted connection to the stadium. We’re confident this club with such a proud history will have a bright future.

“We look forward to the SFA setting out its plans for the future at Hampden.

“We’d also commend the SRU for a strong bid from Murrayfield, which remains the home of rugby and a superb sporting facility.”

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