FORMER Dons cup-winning manager Alex Smith has described Police Scotland’s refusal to allow Aberdeen more tickets for Sunday’s League Cup final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle as “a poor reflection on us” as a nation.
Now director of football at Falkirk, Smith, who in 1989-90 was the last man to lead the Pittodrie club to a cup double that Derek McInnes’s team could emulate this season, is dismayed that segregation issues have been cited as the reason why Aberdeen cannot be given more tickets for the showpiece after they shifted their entire initial 40,000 share of the 60,000 capacity stadium.
Inverness, given the bottom tier of the Lisbon Lions stand, are expected to sell fewer than 10,000 tickets and, with the “neutral” share amounting to around 4,000, several thousand tickets in the top tier may remain unsold.
Smith said: “I can understand the safety aspect of it but this is a cup final. It’s Aberdeen and Inverness. These people are coming down for their cup final. They’re not coming down for trouble. I can’t see it being a problem.
“We have to get back to the days when football people could go to the games and mingle. We have got 40-45,000 Aberdeen and nearly 10,000 from Inverness coming to a cup final. Surely they are not going to come and fight. They’re going to enjoy the occasion. Even if they lose they’re at least competing for cups, back in the big time. They should embrace that. We have to get back to normality in football, people going to the game with their neighbours who might support the opposition. When I was growing up the only games that were segregated were the Old Firm ones, for obvious reasons.
“We can’t afford to turn away people who want to pay into Scottish football. If they’re 5000 short of a sell-out and there’s demand, that’s a lot of money.”