Jack Ross and Steven Gerrard call for quick decision on cup scheduling

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Andy Newport, PA
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Hibernian boss Jack Ross has appealed to Hampden chiefs to hurry up and decide when Saturday’s Scottish Cup ties will be played.

Six last-16 ties are due to take place on April 17 – including Hibs’ trip to Stranraer and the Old Firm derby at Ibrox – but the date has now been thrown into doubt after it was confirmed the ties would clash with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

The Scottish Football Association is holding talks with clubs and TV broadcasters Premier Sports to decide alternative arrangements and Ross wants to see a call made sooner rather than later.

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He said: “It would be nice to know as quickly as possible. The governing bodies have to recognise that we don’t just turn up and play football matches.

“There has to be an appreciation of the professionalism involved in it. For us to plan our working week, and plan our preparation and build-up for the game, players take this job seriously so it would be nice to know as quickly as possible and hopefully we can do that.

“It might not change anything for us but it would be nice to have confirmation as soon as possible.”

Ross was speaking after his side’s defeat to Rangers and Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard is also keen for a speedy decision as his side prepare to face Celtic.

He added: “I’d like to know when it is.

“I think it’s a game we’re very much looking forward to, it’s a mouth-watering tie.

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard has an Old Firm clash to look forward to (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Both teams have got a week to prepare going into it so there’s certainly no excuses from that point of view. We’ll have a day off tomorrow and give the lads the information for the game plan we think can be successful on the day.

“It will be a tough tie. We’re pleased it’s at home and we want to try to build on our strong home record. We’re certainly looking forward to it – but it would be nice to know when it will be.”

Gerrard revealed skipper James Tavernier is fighting to be fit to face the Hoops.

Leon Balogun, centre
Leon Balogun, centre, is a likely injury absence against Celtic (Andrew Milligan/PA)

But there was a fresh injury blow for the Gers boss this week when Leon Balogun picked up an ankle knock, while Ryan Jack is still waiting for a clear diagnosis on his troublesome calf complaint following a trip to see a London specialist.

On Jack, Gerrard said: “That news hasn’t come yet unfortunately.

“I don’t know what the delay is. We’re waiting patiently to try to get an update on that situation.

“Leon’s going to be out unfortunately. We’re still waiting for a scan. The scan will happen tomorrow morning or afternoon.

“He felt a calf/Achilles area yesterday morning. He left the training session. Until we get the scan result we won’t be able to know the outcome of that but he’s limping about today, which tells you he has obviously very little chance of making next weekend.”