Celtic, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs learn Scottish Cup semi-final dates

Final to be played five days before Christimas

Scottish Cup holders Celtic will meet Aberdeen in the semis on the weekend of 31 October-1 November.
Scottish Cup holders Celtic will meet Aberdeen in the semis on the weekend of 31 October-1 November.

The 2019-20 Scottish Cup semi-finals will be played on the weekend of Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November, it has been confirmed.

The matches – Hearts v Hibs and Celtic v Aberdeen – were postponed last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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They will now take place in the new season.

New Hearts signing Craig Gordon will be eligible to play in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

The final, originally scheduled for Saturday 9 May, will be played on Saturday 20 December.

All three fixtures will be played at Hampden Park, with the date of each match and kick-off times yet to be decided.

Two key rule changes are being brought in for the matches:

· Players who have previously played for another team during the 2019-20 competition will not be cup-tied.

New Hibs striker Kevin Nisbet can play in the Scottish Cup semi-final despite featuring for Dunfermline earlier in the competition.

· Clubs will be permitted to use five substitutes, as per the changes to the Laws of the Game agreed by IFAB.

It means that Hibs, for example, will be able to field new signings Kevin Nisbet, Drey Wright and Alex Gogic.

Hearts will be able to play Craig Gordon, who they signed following his release from Celtic over the summer.

It also throws up the intriguing prospect of Jonny Hayes potentially playing for Aberdeen against his former club Celtic in the semi-final.

Jonny Hayes could player for Aberdeen against former club Celtic in the semis.

Hayes played in holders Celtic’s Scottish Cup wins over Clyde and St Johnstone before the football shutdown, then signed for Aberdeen during the summer.

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “We are pleased to confirm dates for the remaining stages of the 2019/20 William Hill Scottish Cup.

“It has always been our intention to play the tournament to a finish and while the impact of Covid-19 has dramatically altered the schedule, we are confident that the final will be a unique and memorable showpiece event during the Christmas holidays.

“The dates for the final stages of the competition will give the semi-finalists the best chance to prepare for such important fixtures. By ensuring no players will be cup tied, we have also ensured that each club will be able to field their strongest possible teams.

“The dates also give us the best possible chance of having supporters attend the matches at Hampden. The health and wellbeing of players, staff and supporters are of paramount importance and we will continue to follow the public health guidance from the Scottish Government.”

The SFA says that details of the 2020-21 Scottish Cup fixtures will be issued in due course.

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