Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is relieved the Scottish Cup will be played to a conclusion this season even if it means a congested fixture list.
McInnes was concerned the Scottish Cup would not be completed this season when football below the Championship was suspended in January due to a tightening of Covid-19 restrictions.
Last season’s Scottish Cup ran over into this campaign, with Aberdeen losing 2-0 to Celtic in the delayed 2019-20 semi on November 1.
However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week gave the go ahead for the return of SPFL Leagues One and Two and SWPL1.
After that suspension on lower leagues was partially lifted the Scottish FA confirmed the new cup dates.
While football below League Two and the SWPL2 remain shut down, Highland League clubs still involved in the Scottish Cup will be allowed to fulfil their ties.
That opens up the potential for a mouth-watering all North clash as Aberdeen will play the winners of Dumbarton v Huntly away in the third round on Saturday April 3.
McInnes said: “There was a concern the Scottish Cup would not be concluded.
“There was talk about maybe only taking it so far again similar to last year.
“That maybe the semi-finals and finals were going to be played next season again when there are crowds.
“Or we would just run out of time because of the situation with the lower leagues.
“Now that is not the case it is good that we will have that conclusion to the Scottish Cup.
“It will mean that things are going to be tight with the fixture list. However, getting it concluded was the best all round.”
The fourth and fifth rounds are scheduled for the weekends of 17 and 24 April. The semi-finals are set for 8-9 May.
Hornby on comeback trail
Meanwhile, McInnes has confirmed loan striker Fraser Hornby’s thigh injury is not as bad as initially feared.
McInnes is hopeful the Stade de Reims striker will return for the post-split “run in” as the Reds bid to secure a third-placed Premiership finish.
Scotland U21 international Hornby suffered a thigh injury in the recent 1-0 defeat of Kilmarnock.
After scans revealed a significant tear, there were concerns he could be a long-term injury absentee.
McInnes said: “It might not be as bad as we first thought and I’m hoping Fraser will be back for the run in.”
The Dons boss believes Hornby, signed by Stade de Reims for £1.8 million from Everton last summer, was beginning to show what he can bring to the Dons’ attack prior to his injury setback.
McInnes added: “There was an understanding for us these boys were not going to be perfect in terms of match sharpness. However, I felt as though Fraser was just getting there.”