THE SFA has said it had to move the Scottish Cup Final kick-off to ensure the “widest possible audience” gets to see the showpiece match.

Treble-chasing Celtic will take on Championship side, Inverness Caledonian Thistle on June 3 at Hampden.

After complaints from some fans that the match was being switched from the traditional 3 pm kick-off to a 5.30pm start, the Scottish Parliament health and sport committee got involved and its convenor Clare Haughey, wrote to the SFA asking it to reconsider.

Now the SFA, chief executive Ian Maxwell, has responded and explained the reasons for the change.

READ MORE: Parties in Glasgow unite in call to give asylum seekers right to work

He said the match “deserves to reach as wide an audience as possible, both in terms of capacity attendance at Hampden Park and television viewers nationally and internationally”.

Mr Maxwell told the committee a scheduling conflict with the FA Cup final had to be considered and said BBC One could not give the match a UK-wide broadcast at 3pm, which he said “would greatly diminish the visibility of Scottish football’s showpiece occasion”.

The SFA boss also said Inverness Caledonian Thistle did not have concerns about fans getting back to the Highlands after the match with a later kick off.,

He said: “We have been assured by the club that this is not the case: indeed Inverness have recently confirmed that arrangements have been made with bus providers to ensure all fans travelling from Inverness will be able to access return transport from Hampden Park.”

He added: “During discussions with Inverness, it was clear an earlier kick-off of 12.15 would not be conducive to maximising their supporters’ enjoyment of the day and would also present public transport issues. The club’s preference was for a later kick–off.”

Maxwell concluded: “A 5.30pm kick-off will ensure a sold-out stadium and prime Saturday evening television that affords the widest-possible television audience.”