CELTIC boss Brendan Rodgers has queried the SPFL’s process to reach the decision to switch the holders’ Betfred League Cup semi-final against Hearts to Murrayfield on Sunday, October 28 with a 1.30pm kick-off.
The league bosses were forced into an embarrassing U-turn over their original plan to play both last-four ties – Aberdeen meet Rangers in the other game – at Hampden on the same day with staggered starts.
However, the Hoops have been ordered to play at the home of Scottish rugby in the capital while the Dons and Gers meet at Hampden with a 4pm kick-off.
Craig Levein’s team played several games at Murrayfield at the beginning of last season when their main stand was being refurbished and Rodgers has questioned the neutrality of the ground as a result.
He said: “It feels as if it is assumed that Celtic and Hearts should go to Edinburgh. And if they are talking about a neutral venue it is certainly not neutral with Hearts having played part of their season there last season.
“We are happy to be in the semi-final, but I think the process is unfair.”
Ahead of tonight’s Europa League Group B clash with RB Salzburg in Austria, Rodgers added: “My feeling would be I am disappointed with the process.
“We all see the sense in not having the two games on the one day at the same venue, it probably didn’t seem right for everyone.
“So, at least, there is a decision made to take it away from Hampden, but then you have to be fair to all four teams and all sets of supporters.
“The minute it is booked that we were playing at a quarter to eight [at Hampden]there will be people who booked flights, boats, organised cars, and now for it to change and play elsewhere, I just think it is an unfair process.”
PETER LAWWELL…Celtic would have preferred a ballot.
Celtic issued a statement saying: “The SPFL Board’s decision not to hold a ballot to decide the venues of the forthcoming semi-final matches is both irrational and discriminatory.
“Celtic recognised there was a genuinely difficult problem to resolve. All we asked for was equity of treatment – in other words, a simple ballot of which game went to which venue, so that all clubs would have a 50-50 chance of playing at Hampden.
“We understand that those bodies consulted, including the police and broadcasters, had no preference whatsoever on which match should take place at each venue and, therefore, there was only one appropriate method of reaching a fair outcome.
“The SPFL Board have been unable to produce logic or reason for turning down our modest request. Instead, they have arbitrarily decided that a chosen game should stay at Hampden and the other should go to Murrayfield.
“The interests of our club and supporters have been subordinated to a diktat from the SPFL board which is as unfair as it was unnecessary.”