Jack Ross is adamant that last season’s Scottish Cup should be played to a conclusion, even if there are no fans allowed into Hampden to cheer on the semi-finalists.
The outstanding last-four ties, between Hibs and derby rivals Hearts, and holders Celtic and Aberdeen, were scheduled for the weekend of 31 October-1 November, with the Scottish FA hopeful of the go-ahead for crowds to attend matches by that stage. The recent tightening of coronavirus protocols now makes that highly unlikely, but rather than delay the fixtures or take the decision to void the competition, Hibernian manager Ross wants them to go ahead as planned.
“That’s quite an easy one for me,” he said. “Purely from a football point of view, if we think back to the first round we played in it, we spoke about winning the cup. That opportunity looked like it might be taken away from us when the season was called to a halt and if it had been voided then, fine, we would have accepted it and understood it but once the decision was made to continue with it we were delighted.
“I think for all four teams that remain in the competition the hunger still remains. We would have hoped that it would be that showpiece event, with fans back in the stadium, but it is something we don’t really think about. It is more just having the opportunity to win the cup.
“All of us were desperate to have supporters back in the stadium and we would much prefer that but my job is to prepare us for football fixtures and that one is no different.
“If the semi-final is played but not in front of fans then the experience will be very surreal but we have had that already. Even on Sunday [against Rangers], that was a massive game and the ground would normally be full and, in terms of atmosphere and intensity, it would have been terrific but we played that one without fans and I don’t think it affected things in terms of entertainment.
“It is what it is at the moment. We can’t do anything about it, we just have to accept it and the opportunity to win the Scottish Cup remains for us and that’s the most important thing to focus on.”
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