Hibs in plea to hopeful fans in wake of Hampden green light

A limited number of spectators will be allowed into Hampden for this month’s Scottish Cup final between Hibs and St Johnstone but fans have been warned there could be hundreds rather than thousands.

A general view of Easter Road

Hibs’ ticket office was besieged by calls after it was revealed that the Scottish FA had gained special dispensation from UEFA, who assume control of the national stadium this weekend in preparation for next month’s Euros, to admit fans.

It will now be up to the participating clubs to decide how to distribute their allocations but, with demand significantly outstripping supply, both sides are aware of the impossible task they face in keeping everyone happy.

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“We are in regular conversation with the Scottish FA and the precise number of supporters is still to be determined and will depend upon gaining approval from the Scottish Government,” said an Easter Road spokesperson.

“Once we know what the final number is, we will let fans know how we plan to distribute the small number available.

“Meantime we would urge supporters not to contact the ticket office on this matter. We will update fans as soon as we possibly can.”

Hibs sold out their 21,000 allocation when they defeated Rangers in the 2016 final, while St Johnstone were backed by 15,000 when they secured the club’s first major trophy, in 2014, in a final staged at Celtic Park due to Hampden being revamped ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

And, after being shut-out of stadia for more than a year, and with both clubs on the precipice of historic campaigns, briefs will be highly-sought after by players’ family, season ticket holders, club employees and commercial partners.

It is understood that advice has been sought from south of the border, where tickets for socially-distant crowds have been dispersed according to the average attendance percentages of season ticket holders, squad relatives, sponsors and corporate customers on normal matchdays.

In keeping with the rest of a season hamstrung by Covd restrictions, this term’s finale had been expected to be closed door but the recent relaxation of rules prompted calls for a re-think.

From May 17, 500 people are allowed to attend seated outdoor events in Scotland, with organisers able to apply for special dispensation to increase those numbers.

When the Euros kick off, less than three weeks after the country’s most prestigious knockout competition, crowds of around 12,000 will be inside Hampden.

But, due to the work needed to ensure the stadium is ready for that, numbers will remain extremely restricted when Hibs take on St Johnstone.

It is understood that the Scottish FA had approached Celtic, Rangers, and Hearts as they sought an alternative venue but none were turned away due to scheduled pitch and infrastructure works, while an approach to the Scottish Rugby was also unsuccessful due to a need to protect the playing surface ahead of an upcoming British Lions fixture against Japan.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack had offered Pittodrie as an option but, geographically, it was far from ideal.

After last season was curtailed due to lockdown, the latter stages of the Scottish Cup was held over to this term, with the final being staged in December. Similar to this year’s League Cup final - won by Callum Davidson’s Perth side - it was contested at an empty Hampden Park.

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