Celtic Park won the right to host this season’s Scottish League Cup Final. Months earlier Celtic Park won the right to host this season’s Scottish Cup Final. Across the city, Rangers were awarded the two Scottish Cup semi finals, yet this was not good enough for the dignified people of Ibrox.
Upon Celtic Park being announced as the venue for the Scottish League Cup Final, Rangers boss Ally McCoist told the assembled media: “I did say to the chief executive that if we were allowed to bet, which of course we’re not, get a few quid on (it) not being at Ibrox.”
With Hampden being used for the Commonwealth Games and with Rangers hosting League One rivals Dunfermline Athletic at Ibrox, the day before the final between Aberdeen and Inverness Caley Thistle, the SPFL took the decision to award Celtic Park the final.
Explaining the decision, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “So, we were left with two to consider and we had a full consultation with the clubs involved, both venues: Celtic Park and Ibrox; and with Police Scotland and the broadcasters. The key determining factor was that, at Ibrox on the day before the final, Rangers are due to host Dunfermline.
“That’s likely to be a live televised game and, in those circumstances, it just wouldn’t have been possible for the broadcasters to de-rig on the Saturday and get rigged up in time for the Sunday.”
However, despite a reasonably valid reason for awarding the final to Celtic Park, McCoist was having none of it even implying that there was an unseen hand controlling the SPFL and Neil Doncaster. I wonder who that would be?
McCoist said: “I just didn’t think it would be. It was my own opinion. I think obviously Neil [Doncaster], or indeed whoever is running the SPFL, made the decision and they’ll stick by it. I’ve worked with television long enough that I know these boys are unbelievable at their job in terms of de-rigging and setting up for games. Come on. That doesn’t wash with me and I don’t think it washes with you either.”
McCoist’s comments stirred Peter Lawwell and his hand from the orifice of Neil Doncaster long enough to put the former Question of Sport presenter in his place.
Lawwell told Press Association Sport: “It’s the pre-eminent stadium in Scotland, it’s the biggest and the best. So if you want to have a bet on the biggest and the best, then you will always win.”