Last night, in a shocking underreported revelation, an STV journalist – there are some you know – tweeted that the SPFL might not have a “done deal” when it comes to the use of Murrayfield for one of the League Cup semi-finals.
If he’s correct, and there’s good reason to think that he is, then we really are off to the races and the farce is complete.
Paul Barnes’ tweet said that Scottish Rugby have sent a list of questions, and expressed a number of doubts, to the SPFL over the idea. I am not in the least bit surprised. The notion of having many thousands of angry Sevco fans in the stadium can’t be one that holds any appeal for them whatsoever.
Broken seats and toilets are not what they signed up for.
On top of that, as we’re so often reminded, the hosts are responsible for security. The hosts are responsible if something goes wrong, like, for example, a re-run of the Sevco-Hibs Hampden riot of yesteryear. Their game with Aberdeen will be labelled “high risk.”
The fixture with Celtic and Hearts is not exactly going to be a picnic either.
Quite simply, why do they need the hassle?
There are scheduling issues too; Scottish Rugby has its own big games to prepare for and they obvious logistical concerns here.
And there’s another consideration too, one that won’t get any ink but should be the subject of much lively discussion; why exactly would the SRU want to do the football authorities any favours here? The way the Scottish football authorities have treated them in the last few months has been absolutely appalling.
The Hampden bodies have treated the SRU with almost mind-bending disrespect, first by using Murrayfield as a threat in the SFA’s “national stadium” decision although the idea of moving to the home of rugby was not remotely under consideration, and then the casual way it was considered, and dismissed, as a venue in the first place.
The SRU sees two bodies whose behaviour has been amateurish at best, and presumptuous and ignorant to boot. There is exactly zero to be gained from lending those bodies a helping hand now, especially when this mess is entirely of their own creation.
In case the Hampden cretins missed it, they don’t own Murrayfield. They have no say in how it is to be used. To use the name of Scottish rugby’s home as a deflection whenever they feel like it is just not on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this factors into the decision.
If the SRU says “no” – and they well might – then we really are in the territory of the absurd, with the only two options left being a fixture shuffle that sees the semi-finals played on consecutive weekends or the SPFL having to play these games as they were originally scheduled.
One column today – by Joel Sked in The Scotsman – says this farce began with the league cup semi-final draw; that is rank nonsense and another example of the media not doing its job. If they were capable of actually holding people to account we might not be in this mess. Their own incompetence, or just sheer laziness, is what allows the SPFL to get away with this kind of stupidity.
Celtic and Sevco had relatively straightforward quarter final ties.
There was a good chance both clubs would be in the last four, and there was a 50/50 chance of their not being drawn together … so in fact, the point where this began is the point at which both clubs were confirmed to be in the Europa League group stages.
That was 30 August.
The SPFL should have had a plan in mind from that moment on, instead of leaving it to luck.
Even if they had missed it at first, The Daily Mail carried a story on the possibility of one of the Glasgow clubs having to play on the Saturday after a Europa League game a full five days before the quarter finals even took place.
Are we to believe the SPFL was really oblivious to this possibility until someone checked the dates after the draw?
Now The Sun has suggested that the SRU might charge the SPFL £300,000 for hosting the fixture … that would be no more than the governing body deserves, and the clubs with them who allow this nonsense to carry on by keeping in office people grossly unfit for it.
All of this is shambolic.
It really would put the tin hat on it if the SRU now refused to bail out football’s incompetent “administrators.”
Then heads really would have to roll, wouldn’t they?
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