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35 of 036 Gordon Smith [3] 84SC H

Fixtures clash as Hibs and Hearts drawn at home on Calcutta Cup weekend

Published on Tuesday 10 January 2012 01:04

THE Scottish Football Association will have to look closely at the scheduling of a couple of Scottish Cup fifth-round ties after Hearts and Hibernian were both drawn to play at home on the same weekend that Scotland host England at Murrayfield in the opening RBS Six Nations fixture.

Hearts, who were paired with St Johnstone at yesterday’s draw, and Hibs, who will face Dundee or Kilmarnock at Easter Road, generally don’t play at home on the same day for safety reasons. The fact Scotland are already scheduled to play a sell-out Calcutta Cup rugby match in the capital on Saturday 4 February (5pm kick-off) means that one of the Scottish Cup ties is expected to be arranged for the Sunday, while kick-off times may be rearranged from the traditional 3pm slot.

St Johnstone will be looking to beat Hearts at Tynecastle for the second year running after the Perth side posted a 1-0 win in Edinburgh at the same stage of the competition last year.

Pat Fenlon, the Hibs manager, has no preference over whether Dundee or Kilmarnock win the replay at Rugby Park next midweek and was just happy to have been given a home draw.

“I didn’t really mind who we were drawn against as long as we were at home,” said Fenlon, whose team beat Cowdenbeath 3-2 on Saturday.

“It’s going to be difficult again, no matter which team comes through. We’re happy enough to be at home. It could have been easier, it could have been harder, so we’ll take what has come our way.”

Rangers were rewarded for a 4-0 win at Arbroath with a home tie against Dundee United, while the draw – conducted by Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas and former Italy coach Marcello Lippi – gave Celtic a trip to the winner of the Inverness-Dunfermline replay.

That throws up the possibility of Celtic facing a Caley Thistle team who, then in the First Division, famously dumped the Parkhead club out of the tournament in February 2000 and then inflicted another defeat on them in March 2003.

Elsewhere in the draw, Aberdeen have a chance to avenge their 2008 semi-final defeat by Queen of the South when they host the Dumfries side. But Dons manager Craig Brown is keen to avoid the build-up being overshadowed by that 4-3 Hampden defeat.

“We have a home draw and if we fail to progress it will be our own responsibility and totally our own fault,” Brown told RedTV. “I would encourage the media not to focus on the previous game between the sides in this competition. It is completely different.”

Irn-Bru First Division leaders Ross County – fresh from their 7-0 win over Stenhousemuir at the weekend – will visit the winners of the replay between St Mirren and Hamilton, while Motherwell welcome Morton to Fir Park.

Motherwell beat Morton 3-2 at Cappielow in pre-season and manager Stuart McCall was happy with the draw.

“I’m pleased, you just want to be at home,” McCall told MFCTV. “I actually spoke to Andre Villas-Boas before the draw and asked him to make sure we were at home, so well done to him for that.

“We played Morton in pre-season and it was a cracking game. We’re well aware of the good threats they have but we’ve avoided the SPL and we’re at home so we’re pleased. But when the tie comes around we’ll have to be at our best.”

There will be at least one all-First Division clash with Scottish Communities League Cup semi-finalists Ayr and Falkirk meeting at Somerset Park. The ties will be played on 4-5 February.

Taken from the Scotsman

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