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Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes and Hearts manager Craig Levein take aim at SPFL over Betfred Cup scheduling

Aberdeen fans may not have to face a noon kick-off for their Betfred Cup semi-final.
Aberdeen fans may not have to face a noon kick-off for their Betfred Cup semi-final.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes and his Hearts counterpart Craig Levein have condemned the SPFL for their decision to host both Betfred Cup semi-finals at Hampden on the same day.

The Dons have described the noon kick-off for their semi-final against Rangers as “appalling”, while Levein branded the decision to stage two games at the national stadium on October 28 as “absolute madness”.

The Jambos will take on Celtic in the other semi-final at 7.45pm. McInnes feels the Dons fans ought to be given more consideration when such games are scheduled.

He said: “I would play the game anywhere as it’s so important for us to be in the semi-final but there has to be more understanding for the supporters.

“It’s so difficult for them to get to Hampden for a noon kick-off on a Sunday but no matter how many times we have raised these concerns in the past it doesn’t seem to have any effect. We have been in a lot of semi-finals and finals in recent years so there is no issue about the fans going to Glasgow.

“They are happy to travel to Hampden for these big games and the journey is what it is but that’s not the issue. It’s the fact that getting a lot of our supporters down there for that kick-off time is not impossible but a huge challenge. I do think there were other options worth considering and maybe there were other alternatives that were better for our supporters.”

Both Craig Levein and Derek McInnes have criticised the SPFL.

Levein went further in his criticism of the SPFL and its decision-making, taking aim at everything from the potential problems of having four sets of fans in Glasgow and the potential state of the pitch for the second semi-final.

He said: “It’s the craziest thing I’ve probably experienced in football. How they can come to this decision, based around what should be a huge thing for Scottish football, is beyond belief. It’s madness. There’s so many things that can go wrong. The first thing is we’ve not been to a semi-final in five years and want our supporters to be there in numbers.

“I want 50 per cent of the tickets and to make it feel like there’s a huge Hearts presence there. But we’re not getting that at 7.45pm on a Sunday night.

“I’ve got players talking to me about how disappointed their families are that can’t watch their dad play in a semi-final. Our supporters and Aberdeen will be the ones that suffer most. I just don’t understand how they can come to that decision and think it’s all right. We need supporters to come to the game to make it what it is and we’re actually discouraging them from doing that. It’s absolute madness.”

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