The 2019/20 Scottish Cup will be completed even if the remaining matches have to take place next year, according to the chief executive of the Scottish Football Association.
Speaking to Scotland Tonight on Thursday evening, Ian Maxwell said he wanted to stage the semi-finals and final in front of spectators.
Hearts were due to play their Edinburgh rivals Hibs on 11 April, while Celtic were set to face Aberdeen the following day, before all football in Scotland was cancelled until further notice in response to the spread of coronavirus.
“In an ideal world we wouldn’t be restarting the Scottish Cup, we would have played it to a completion this season. Given the circumstances, that’s not been possible and the world will be a different place coming out the coronavirus crisis, never mind the squads that are going to be playing in Scottish Cup competitions,” said Maxwell.
“The board have stated that we absolutely want to play the games, it’s our flagship tournament. It means an awful lot to the players and the clubs and the supporters of the teams that are still involved in the competition, and I’m sure when the final comes and the winning captain is up lifting the trophy, all he’ll worry about is being a Scottish Cup winner, so it’s not ideal circumstances but we’re making the best of it,” he added.
Maxwell also said there was a big financial imperative to playing the matches in front of supporters.
“We want to try and give it a bit of time to see how that (crowds returning to stadiums) unfolds before making a decision,” he said.
“We would look at it (playing the matches next year). You then start to get fixture challenges depending on how the season plays out and how the fixture calendar is looking at that point.
“So we would need to make a decision at some point but we’re committed to playing the competition to its completion,” he added.