St Johnstone fans’ hopes of attending the Scottish Cup final at Hampden have been killed off after level three restrictions were extended in Glasgow.
The Scottish Government had signed off on allowing 600 fans in total to attend next Saturday’s showpiece between Saints and Hibs at Hampden.
However, concerns over a rise in Covid-19 cases in Scotland’s largest city – understood to be driven by the Indian variant of the virus – have triggered a U-turn.
Following today’s Scottish Government announcement that Glasgow will remain under level three Covid restrictions for at least another week, the Scottish government have subsequently confirmed that fans will now not be permitted to attend the Scottish Cup Final.#ScottishCup pic.twitter.com/53Ct0V1IkQ
— Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) May 14, 2021
Announcing that Glasgow is to remain subject to level three regulations – which do not allow for fan attendance at football matches, nor travel into or out of Glasgow – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is inevitable that as we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, we will hit bumps in the road.
“However, if we exercise suitable caution as we’re seeking to do today, then even though that is difficult, we are much more likely to stay on the right track overall.”
Immediately following the First Minister’s announcement, national clinical director Jason Leith plunged plans for St Johnstone‘s clash with Hibs into doubt on BBC Radio Scotland.
Professor Leitch said: “The situation now I’m afraid is that there is no travel in or out of Glasgow.
“That’s just been announced so we haven’t had time to talk to the SFA (Scottish Football Association) yet. We will of course do that.
“But the rules are no travel in or out for non essential reasons. So that would put at risk, I would’ve thought, fans coming in and out. And Level 3 stadia can’t have anybody in them.”
Within hours, Saints’ opponents Hibs released a statement confirming an SFA directive that next Saturday’s game is to be played behind closed doors at Hampden.
🟢 Club Statement
The Scottish Cup Final on 22 May will now be played behind closed doors at Hampden. The Scottish Government's decision to keep Glasgow in Level 3 lockdown for at least 10 days means we can no longer provide tickets.https://t.co/AeX9h5Tl7Z
— Hibernian Football Club (@HibernianFC) May 14, 2021
The Edinburgh side said: “Hibernian FC this evening received clarification from the Scottish FA that – owing to the Scottish Government’s decision that Glasgow should remain in Level 3 lockdown for at least the next ten days as a precaution against higher levels of covid 19 infections – the Cup Final on May 22nd must now be played behind closed doors, with no fans present.
“Consequently, the Club is unable to provide any tickets other than for those essential to the playing of the match.”