Hibernian boss Paul Heckingbottom admits he is baffled by the slow uptake in tickets from his side’s supporters for next month’s Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic.
The Edinburgh side have failed badly to shift briefs for the game at Hampden, with Celtic offered a fresh allocation of tickets earlier in the week. Some reckon that the Hoops could have up to 35,000 fans inside the stadium with their opponents backed by as little as 7,000.
Englishman Heckingbottom says he’s surprised that the match isn’t whetting the appetite of his supporters, but he also understands where they’re coming from.
“Maybe that is it – that fans are used to going to Hampden now,” he told the Daily Record.
“I’m over the moon and I’m looking forward to it, so are the players. Yet it seems to be a fixture that doesn’t really capture the imagination.
“It baffles me but you have to look at how often do they get there? Past results, peoples’ feelings on it – and it tends to be the history of this fixture, this semi-final. It seems to be that way.
“It’s something new to me, a semi-final, but if we get past Celtic it will be totally different in the final.”
Heckingbottom should realise Celtic factor in poor sale of tickets
The poor take-up in Hibs tickets is not totally surprising. The Leith side failed badly in the same round of the competition two years ago as vast swatches of Hampden lay empty. The prospect of playing Celtic, and knowing that you’ll likely lose, can’t be too attractive when buying tickets for the National Stadium.
Take Aberdeen for example. The Dons matched our allocation for each of the domestic cup finals in the 2016/2017 season. However, last year’s Betfred Cup final saw them take a reduced allocation, with Celtic supporters getting the majority of Hampden.
It just goes to show how formidable we are at Hampden nowadays. Nobody has beaten us in Mount Florida since 2016. We’ve won 11 straight matches there and that’s bound to have an effect on Hibernian fans buying tickets.