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DONS ‘APPALLED’ AT HIGH NOON SHOOT-OUT

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ABERDEEN have branded the SPFL’s decision to play both Betfred League Cup Finals at Hampden on the same day as “appalling”.

The Pittodrie club are raging their fans face a noon kick-off against Rangers at the national stadium on Sunday, October 28, while holders Celtic take on Hearts at the same venue at 7.45pm.

SPFL bosses insist they found the only “feasible” solution to their scheduling predicament with the Old Firm clubs both involved in the Europa League encounters the previous Thursday.

Despite suggestions that one of the semi-finals could be relocated to Murrayfield, it was confirmed the league is bound by the terms of their contract to stage both games at Hampden.

Police Scotland, who were involved in discussions which took place between the SPFL and all four competing clubs yesterday, requested that the Aberdeen v Rangers tie should have the earlier time slot as they prepare to deal with the logistical issues the day will now entail for supporters.

But the Dons are furious their supporters will have to travel for a midday start on a Sunday. The first scheduled train from Aberdeen does not usually arrive in Glasgow until 12:15pm on a Sunday.

A spokesperson said: “As a club, we have repeatedly asked that the authorities stop giving us kick-off times which, for our large travelling support, are completely unacceptable, but yet again, what should be a showpiece occasion, is scheduled to start at a time that does not take supporters into account.

“There are other options that should have been investigated further, including staging the games on consecutive weekends or using two different venues which would have allowed kick-off times more suitable.

“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 noon start on a Sunday is, quite frankly, appalling.”

Brendan Rodgers’ team are due to play RB Leipzig in Germany on Thursday, October 25, while Steven Gerrard’s men are at home to Spartak Moscow on the same evening.

Derek McInnes saw his Pittodrie outfit overcome Hibs 6-5 on penalties following an extra-time goalless draw at Easter Road on Tuesday while Rangers hammered Championship side Ayr United 4-0 in Glasgow 24 hours later.

Celtic booked their last-four spot with a 1-0 victory at St Johnstone thanks to a Leigh Griffiths strike and Hearts battled to a 4-2 win over Motherwell at Tynecastle.

The SPFL will also have to find new dates for the four Premiership fixtures involving the semi-finalists scheduled for that weekend.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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