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Levein slams ‘madness’ of Hampden semi-final double header


Glasgow (AFP) – Hearts boss Craig Levein labelled the decision to host both semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup on the same day at Hampden as a “madness”, while Aberdeen have also derided the controversial scheduling as “appalling.”

The matches have been programed for Sunday October 28 as both Celtic and Rangers are in Europa League action on the Thursday beforehand.

Premiership leaders Hearts’ clash with Celtic won’t kick-off till 1945 (1845GMT), while Aberdeen are furious at being scheduled for a midday kick-off against Rangers nearly 150 miles south in Glasgow.

“It’s the craziest thing I’ve probably experienced in football,” said former Scotland boss Levein.

“It’s just madness, honestly. There are so many things that could go wrong.”

“I want to go to Hampden and make it feel like we’ve got a huge Hearts presence there.

“There’s one thing for certain: we’re not getting that at 7.45 on a Sunday night.

“It doesn’t compute with me. We need supporters to come to the game to make it what it is and we are actually discouraging them.”

Police chiefs have also raised concerns over the potential for disturbances with four sets of fans attending one venue throughout the course of the day.

In a statement Aberdeen called for one of the matches to be switched to another weekend.

“We appreciate the authorities have a difficult job to schedule games in what is an extremely congested calendar but to yet again ask our supporters to be in Glasgow for a 12 noon start on a Sunday is, quite frankly, appalling.”

There are fewer logistical concerns for Celtic and Rangers fans with both games being held at the home of Scottish football.

But managers of both clubs Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard raised concerns about the impact playing two games that could go to extra-time will have on the pitch.

“It would be good for Hearts,” said Rodgers on the prospect of a cut up surface.

“It could go into extra-time, it could go into penalties. It really could operationally be a real push.”

Gerrard admitted he was delighted to have avoided playing in the second game of the day.

“We haven’t got that problem (of playing second),” said the former Liverpool captain. “We’re first on the pitch…I’m delighted we’re first there.”

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