Youth Cup final switched to help out stricken Pars

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DUNFERMLINE Athletic have succeeded in their bid to have the SFA Youth Cup final brought forward 24 hours to aid their battle for First Division survival.

The Hampden showpiece against Celtic was due to be played on Thursday, 2 May, just two days before the administration-hit Pars face relegated Airdrie United in their final game of the season – which is likely to be a pivotal clash as they attempt to avoid the drop.

Dunfermline are currently in the relegation play-off position and, following seven senior redundancies, are largely relying on the bulk of John Potter’s successful under-20s side to step up to the first team.

After talks with the SFA and Celtic, the game has now been moved to Wednesday, 1 May, giving the East End Park kids an extra day of recovery time.

Senior manager Jim Jefferies is delighted to see “common sense” prevail.

He said: “The association knows the plight of this football club and they are supposed to help. I know it’s not their fault we are in this position – but it is not these boys’ fault either.

“It is clear where we are coming from. Fortunately, the penny has dropped somewhere. It is common sense and, hopefully, everybody can see the logic in this. I think John Potter has done a couple of game switches to suit Celtic’s under-20 team in their European games.”

Jefferies had previously warned that he would be willing to “devalue” the competition if the gap of just 48 hours between games remained in place.

The veteran coach added: “You would be looking at putting out 15 and 16-year-olds, which would devalue the final. Otherwise I would have been playing young lads on a Thursday and asking them to play one of the most important games in the club’s history on a Saturday.”