50-50 split on cards as Hearts and Hibs head to Hampden for talks

HEARTS and Hibernian will learn at a Hampden meeting today how many tickets their supporters will be offered for next month’s Scottish Cup final, with a 50-50 split highly likely.

The two Edinburgh clubs will be given an equal number of tickets for the 19 May showdown, and both will give priority to season ticket holders before deciding whether there will be a public sale.

Although the Scottish Football Association declined to say yesterday what they proposed to offer, it is understood that the vast majority of seats in the 52,000-capacity stadium – well in excess of 20,000 each – will go to Hibs and Hearts fans. Hampden debenture-holders retain the right to buy seats for every event at the national stadium, but some have already said they will not require a ticket for the cup final. The two clubs will be able to use those unclaimed seats for hospitality packages.

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Hibs, who have had a day longer to prepare than their rivals, having beaten Aberdeen 2-1 in Saturday’s first semi-final, are already advertising hospitality packages on their website, www.hibernianfc.co.uk. The cost of £180 per person includes a match ticket, return travel and a three-course meal. Hibs plan to announce details of their general sale of tickets tomorrow, and are awaiting confirmation of the number of seats they are being offered before deciding whether to allow each season-ticket holder to buy more than one. They currently have around 7,500 season-ticket holders.

“We will give priority to our season ticket holders,” a spokesman for the club said. “But we cannot confirm the number each may buy, or whether there will be any open sale, until we know the precise number we are getting. Whatever we do, the tickets are going to go quickly.”

Hearts, who beat Celtic 2-1 on Sunday to reach the final, have about 10,000 season-ticket holders. They therefore appear even less likely to be able to hold a public sale of tickets.

“Judging by the number of enquiries we have had since making it into the final with our win over Celtic, there is going to be an enormous demand for tickets for the big game,” a Hearts spokesman said. “Clearly, supporters are wanting to witness a piece of Scottish footballing history, and we are preparing for an onslaught of calls once the sale process kicks off. For that reason, the sale of tickets will be based on fans’ loyalty points totals.”

The Tynecastle club also plan to announce further details tomorrow. There will be no public sale to neutrals either at Hampden or anywhere else.