Celtic Park has been snubbed for the Scottish Cup final as the SFA have decided to play the showpiece event at Hampden.
According to the Daily Record, Parkhead was one of the grounds being discussed as a potential alternative venue. This was in order to get fans in the door for the final – something they can’t do for Hampden due to having to hand over the stadium to UEFA on May 14th [BBC].
Celtic were knocked out of the competition by Rangers in the fourth round nine days ago. However, the Ibrox side were then also KO’d by St Johnstone on Sunday night in a dramatic penalty shootout.
The Record reports that Celtic Park was being considered as a potential neutral venue along with Ibrox and BT Murrayfield. However, a source has explained to the newspaper why the alternative venues have been snubbed:
“The discussions have been exhaustive”
“The Cup Final will go ahead at Hampden with no fans allowed. It’s a frustrating scenario for football in this country but it’s simply not feasible to move it elsewhere for a wide range of reasons.
“In some cases plans have already been made to start ripping up pitches and laying new playing surfaces as soon as the current Premiership campaign is over which rules them out of the equation. But, on top of that, it’s down to practicalities and the cost of moving the match to another venue. Players often talk about getting the chance to play at the national stadium. They want to have their own Hampden moment, even if it’s behind closed doors.
“Everyone wants fans back as soon as possible. The discussions have been exhaustive and going on since the government first published its road map out of lockdown on April 12. But, for all of those reasons, the decision has been made that the Final will go ahead as planned at Hampden on May 22.”
Celtic Park would’ve made a great Scottish Cup final venue – feels like a waste
The last time Celtic Park was used for a cup final venue was when St Johnstone and Dundee United battled it out in the 2014 Scottish Cup showpiece. Before that, Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle battled it out at Parkhead in the 2014 League Cup final.
Both of those matches were entertaining spectacles, and having the best stadium in Scotland to play it on definitely helped. However, that won’t be the case this year.
It feels like a waste if there’s an opportunity to get fans in the door to then not take it. Yes, players want to have their Hampden moment, but this is generally something they envisage having in front of a packed stadium. An empty Hampden doesn’t do much for anyone.
Perhaps the SFA have taken a survey on the matter with the remaining Scottish Cup semi-finalists. If they have, then you can understand the decision. But if not? You simply have to go down the route of getting fans in the door.
But nevermind. It’s the Scottish Cup’s loss not to try and use Celtic Park for their showpiece event. It certainly would’ve made for a much better spectacle, regardless of who makes the final.
The decision, however, now appears set in stone.