Jack Ross admits he has been left baffled by the decision to hand Hibernian just 300 tickets for next week’s Scottish Cup final.
Hopes to have up to 2,000 fans at Hampden to see Ross’ team battle St Johnstone for this season’s final piece of silverware were dashed when the Scottish Government decided only 600 could attend after insisting on a two-metre social distancing rule.
But the Easter Road boss simply cannot get his head around that call given Holyrood’s counterparts in Westminster have green-lighted a Wembley crowd of 21,000 fans for Saturday’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester.
Hampden will also be able to host 12,000 supporters when it stages four matches at this summer’s European Championship after the Scottish Government agreed to reduce social distancing requirements to 1.5 metres.
“There’s been a lot of things over the last year and a half I’ve understood, but others I’ve struggled to get my head around,” said Ross, who will give his players and staff 60 tickets for family members, with the remaining 240 going to Hibs season-ticket holders.
“And I can’t quite understand this decision. I’m sure, as always happens, that people will come out in the aftermath of anyone complaining and point out why they’re right and we’re wrong.
“But I do find it baffling to be honest. We should never underestimate the significance this game plays in a lot of people’s lives in Scotland.
“So I do think it’s a little bit peculiar that we’ve only let this amount of fans into the ground. It would be nice to have a clear explanation.
“I know there has been reasons offered for it. I think for normal people – those who aren’t blessed with scientific knowledge or information – it’s quite a difficult thing to comprehend.
“One of the reasons given was about need for the two-metre distancing outside. Now I may be mistaken – and if I am I apologise – but I think from Monday’s it’s a metre distancing required for indoor hospitality.
“Yet it’s two-metre distancing outside for the final. I’m a layman when it comes to science but I don’t quite get that.
“It’s a shame, especially when you see that not that far away in the same country, because we are part of the United Kingdom, there is an awful lot more going to be at another cup final.
“In the not too distant future, there’s going to be a lot more people than 600 inside the same stadium.
“So I just find it difficult to comprehend. I feel it’s a missed opportunity to have a lot more people participate in something that means an awful lot to them.”
Before next week’s trip to the national stadium, Hibs still have Celtic to overcome on the final day of the Premiership season.
The clash will see Scott Brown return to Leith to bring the curtain down on his Celtic career.
But Ross is also hoping it is a fond farewell to departing goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.
“It’s important I pay tribute to Scott and what he’s achieved at Celtic,” he said. “It’s absolutely remarkable the number of trophies he’s won and the contribution he’s made to his club and country too.
“I’m sure it will be a strange feeling for him when full-time goes.
“From our point of view, it’s Ofir’s final game before he moves onto a fresh challenge it will be an emotional day as well, particularly given what he has contributed here.
“He’s spoken about how much living in Scotland has become part of his life from a family perspective.
“It’s important for us we try to give him a fitting farewell by winning the game.”
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