Glasgow’s Hampden Park will host two League Cup semi-final matches on the same day for the first time ever, it has been confirmed.
Aberdeen will take on Rangers at 12pm on Sunday, October 28, before Hearts face Celtic later that day at 7.45pm.
Rangers and Celtic are both involved in this season’s UEFA Europa League, whose matches are held on Thursday evenings. As a result, the two clubs are forced to play weekend matches on a Sunday and because they avoided each other in the semi-final draw for the League Cup, the Scottish Professional Football League has opted to stage both fixtures on the same day.
SPFL secretary Iain Blair said: “We’ve been working hard with Police Scotland and Hampden Park on contingency planning for exactly this scenario and, together, we examined every possible permutation.
“The crowded fixture calendar means that this is the best and most practical solution as any alternative had the knock-on effect of causing major fixture congestion, not only for Celtic and Rangers, but for several other SPFL clubs.
“We met with representatives of all four clubs earlier today and explained that this was the only feasible outcome. The fact that both Celtic and Rangers are in Europe, and will hopefully be playing in the Europa League after the New Year, is obviously good news for Scottish football, but it does mean that our capacity for rescheduling games is significantly curtailed.
“We can confirm that Police Scotland have advised that the Aberdeen vs Rangers game should be played first.”
A Hampden Park Limited spokesman added: “We have already started the detailed planning process which is standard practice for all major events at the stadium. Hampden is the home of Scottish football and we all look forward to assisting our SPFL colleagues with the delivery of two very exciting Betfred Cup semi-finals at the Stadium.”
Earlier this month, the Scottish Football Association reached an agreement to buy Hampden Park from League Two club Queen’s Park. The Scottish FA will assume ownership of the stadium when its existing lease expires in the summer of 2020. The announcement followed a lengthy process that saw the stadium compete with Murrayfield in Edinburgh to become the home of Scottish football.
Image: Martin le Roy