Brendan Rodgers rues TV blackout of Hibs v Hearts cup derby

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers speaks to the press ahead of his side's match with Hamilton on Saturday. Picture: SNS
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers speaks to the press ahead of his side's match with Hamilton on Saturday. Picture: SNS
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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes the absence of live TV coverage of Wednesday night’s Edinburgh derby denied Scottish football a chance to promote itself in a positive light.

The Scottish Cup fifth round replay was blacked out by Uefa regulations which prevent domestic fixtures being televised live on evenings when Champions League fixtures are being played.

Around 100,000 viewers still managed to tune into the action from Easter Road, via online streams of supporters capturing it on mobile phones through the Periscope app.

Rodgers, who was attending an Edinburgh derby for the first time, says Hibs’ 3-1 win over Hearts would have made a positive impression had it been available to wider audience.

“It was a shame it wasn’t televised,” reflected Rodgers. “I didn’t see the first game at Tynecastle, which was live on Sky, but by all accounts it wasn’t the greatest. But this one was. There were quality goals and good chances created in a brilliant atmosphere. If it was on TV it would have been a nice advert for Scottish 
football.

“All derby games are really special. Down south people may not be as appreciative because there are so many games. But it’s a game up here you can be very proud of. There was real passion in the game with good intensity. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The occasion was great. I was interested to go and see the game because we could get one of the teams as opponents later in the competition. I wanted to ensure I’d seen Hibs close up to get a feel for them, in case we meet them at some point. I also wanted to take in the occasion, which was a wonderful one.”

The performance of Hibs midfielder John McGinn especially caught the eye of Rodgers. “He’s very good. He looks like the type of player you love as a manager. I’d heard a wee bit about him without seeing a great deal of him myself. He was a real driving force for them in there. I know he’s a good friend of Liam Henderson and he played very well.”