There was some real positive news for Celtic yesterday as SFA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell confirmed that the Scottish Cup games will be played when possible.
Maxwell was part of a UEFA video call that took place with 54 other member nations regarding the future of the game. The outcome of which saw Euro 2020 postponed for a year and leagues told to end their domestic campaigns by June 30th (Daily Record)
What has always remained in the air since Scottish football shut down on Friday, however, is the status of the Scottish Cup.
But speaking to the BBC last night after the call (Scottish Football Podcast, 17/03), SFA Chief Executive Maxwell confirmed that dates will be found to squeeze the cup games in.
“The Scottish Cup semi-finals are postponed at the moment. They’re huge games in this country, it’s a flagship tournament across the world and it means a lot to the clubs involved and the spectators that want to go to Hampden and see their team lift the trophy. It means a lot to the Scottish FA.
“It’s our big tournament of the year. There’s a financial imperative around it in terms of club revenue – they receive some gate receipts. It’s vitally important that we get those games played but there’s absolutely no chance we’re going to be playing football in April.
“The Scottish Cup is slightly different because it’s three games. We will be able to find a gap for them. We will be able to fit them in. They’re so important to the football calendar. 2020 goes on for a bit of time yet, so if we wanted to try and get them played then I’m sure we’ll be able to do that.”
Questions still there to be asked, but quadruple treble chance still looks on
This is brilliant news for Celtic. Out of all of the issues surrounding Scottish football at the moment, the Scottish Cup games were the matches with the biggest question marks hovering over them.
It wasn’t outside the realms of possibility that those games were scrapped altogether to make some more room for league matches to be completed. But that certainly doesn’t look like the case anymore.
Celtic were set to face Aberdeen on April 12th with Hibernian taking on Hearts a day before. The final was then set for May 9th (SPFL). Clearly, those dates will now be moved, with Maxwell claiming that there will be no chance of any football in April.
What is interesting, however, is that Maxwell discusses the prospect of the Scottish Cup being played later in the year. He hints at having the whole of 2020 to complete it. Therefore, it’s not outside the realms of possibility that we don’t get to watch these games until perhaps the start of next season.
In any case, it’s a massive shot in the arm for Celtic’s quadruple treble hopes. Question marks may still arise regarding when the games will be played as well as whether the league campaign will finish – but Maxwell’s comments here at least bring some closure as to whether the Scottish Cup will be played.
Here’s hoping Celtic can shake off their ring rust by that point and secure a fourth consecutive Scottish Cup success.