Hibs boss has his say over venue for Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts


Hibernian head coach Jack Ross has made it abundantly clear that his preference would be to stage next month’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden.

The Edinburgh adversaries were drawn together in the last-four tie on Sunday after successfully negotiating their quarter-final matches against Inverness, whom Hibs beat on Friday, and Rangers.

A debate has subsequently surfaced, more so through social media than a result of any lobbying from the clubs, as to whether the game should be switched to Murrayfield, the 67,000-capacity home of Scottish rugby, which is located in the capital.

Ahead of tonight’s Premiership clash between the sides at Easter Road, however, Ross has thrown his weight behind the national stadium in Glasgow.

“You want to lead a team out at Hampden as a manager and I think most players want to play there as well,” said Ross, whose side can move to within two points of third place Motherwell if they win this evening.

“I know Hampden has its critics as a venue but it still generates a terrific atmosphere when there’s a passionate crowd. 

“I don’t think anyone can debate that. It still holds that allure for players and as a manager it’s no different. 

“I was lucky enough as a (Sunderland) manager to lead my team out twice at Wembley.

“It’s something I never got to do as a player and it’s something I never thought I would do as a manager. 

“It was sore in terms of how the two games (Checkatrade Trophy and League One play-off final) went but it will live with me for a long time. 

“The opportunity to take a team to the national stadium – hopefully twice in the same season – is something special.”

Jack has also pointed out that Hearts would have the advantage of having played at Murrayfield five times since September 2017, the most recent being last season’s League Cup semi-final loss to Celtic.

He added: “Any familiarity with a stadium is helpful. 

“Hearts have a lot more experience of playing at Murrayfield than we have. 

“During the period of the main stand reconstruction at Tynecastle they played their games there. 

“It would not make a huge difference but if you are looking at it simply from a sporting integrity point of view, if you like, they have certainly have more experience of playing in that stadium and on that pitch.”

Ross, meanwhile, is looking forward to tonight’s outing after savouring a 2-0 victory in his first experience of the derby on Boxing Day.

Ross added: “I enjoyed the lead up to it and I enjoyed the game itself. That’s probably easy for me to say because we came out on the right side of the result.

“They are special matches and the longer I spend here in the job I have got to understand that more and more. You can’t help but get caught up in the excitement.

“We’ve got a semi-final not far away and that will be a big game. It’s exciting times for football in the city. 

“For us, it’s about winning a game to take us closer to third place with the other teams not playing until Wednesday. It’s a chance to close that gap.”