SCOTTISH football reacted with astonishment yesterday when the SPFL decided both Betfred Cup semi-finals are to be played on the same day at Hampden Park.

In an unprecedented move, it was decided in a meeting between 
Rangers, Aberdeen, Celtic, Hearts and the League that for the first time in history, two major matches would take place within hours of one another at the same venue.

This means on Sunday, October 28, Rangers will face Aberdeen at 12noon while Celtic and Hearts kick-off later that day at 7.45pm.

Rangers and Celtic’s involvement in the Europa League meant that moving one of the semi-finals to Saturday was a non-starter as both clubs have games 48 hours previously on that Thursday night.

The SPFL revealed it is contractually obliged to bring both semi-finals to Hampden, although strangely didn’t seem to rule out the possibility one of the fixtures could have been played elsewhere.

But most supporters greeted the announcement with anger claiming the logistical problems would ruin their day.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said: “It’s not ideal, we have a contractual obligation to bring our semi-finals to Hampden if it’s manageable for the police and Hampden Park’s point of view and they have assured us it is.”

Aberdeen responded to the situation last night and suggested that other avenues should have been explored.

A statement on the club’s website read: “As a club we have repeatedly asked that the authorities stop giving us kick-off times which, for our large travelling support, are completely unacceptable, but yet again, what should be a showpiece occasion, is scheduled to start at a time that does not take supporters into account.

“Other options should have been investigated further, including staging the two games on consecutive weekends or using two different venues.

“To yet again ask our supporters to be in Glasgow for a 12 noon start on a Sunday is, quite frankly, appalling.”

Iain Blair, the league secretary, said: “We’ve been working with Police Scotland and Hampden Park on contingency planning for exactly this scenario. We examined every permutation.”