Celtic have criticised the Scottish FA after the governing body announced that the Scottish Cup final against Inverness will kick off at 5.30pm on Saturday, June 3 and not at the traditional time of 3pm.
Fans of both clubs had been waiting for confirmation of the kick-off time after reports that it may be scheduled for a lunchtime kick-off, with broadcasters reportedly keen to avoid a clash with the FA Cup final in England, which pits Manchester United against Manchester City at 3pm afternoon.
Instead, the organisers have scheduled a late game at Hampden and thanked “all parties for their support in ensuring a slot commensurate with Scottish football’s showpiece occasion”.
That’s provoked the ire of Celtic, who say they were not consulted properly and that they see no reason for a change of time.
A statement from the Glasgow club read: “We are hugely disappointed that the Scottish Cup Final has been moved from its traditional 3pm slot, something we don’t believe was necessary, or in the best interests of both sets of supporters.
“Additionally, there was no meaningful consultation with Celtic on this matter, in terms of assessing the many issues affecting supporters attending the match – something which is also extremely regrettable.”
Inverness joined Celtic in their criticism, stating that they had told the tournament organisers of their concerns in writing ahead of the decision.
A message to supporters on the club website read: “Following on from today’s SFA Cup Final announcement and the rescheduling of our match to 5.30pm on Saturday June 3rd, the club is obviously very disappointed. We believe the showpiece Scottish occasion should have remained at 3pm.
“We made this known to the SFA last Thursday and we reiterated our view in writing on Sunday following our semi-final win at the weekend. It is certainly not in the interest of both sets of fans and as we know, our own supporters will be greatly inconvenienced by the travel challenges they now face.
“Unfortunately we could not effect the final decision to move the match. We were awaiting the match details and now hope to make ticket information known in the next 24 hours.”
The last train to leave Glasgow for Inverness on the day of the final is scheduled for 7.40pm, which would not be viable for any fan staying until the final whistle.
Celtic, who defeated Rangers in the semi-final on Sunday, are hoping to land a domestic treble by winning the competition, having already lifted the League Cup and being close to clinching the Premiership title.
Inverness hope for an upset at the national stadium to lift the silverware. The Championship side would book a place in the Europa League qualifying play-off with victory next month.