East Kilbride v Celtic: Hamilton rule out hosting Scottish Cup tie

New Douglas Park, Hamilton
New Douglas Park has a capacity of 6,000

Hamilton Academical have told the Scottish FA they are unable to host the Scottish Cup fifth-round tie between East Kilbride and Celtic on 7 February.

Lowland League club East Kilbride had been told by the governing body that it would have to be played at New Douglas Park as their K Park was not suitable.

It said rules dictated that it take place at the nearest suitable stadium.

But Premiership club Accies now say they already have a full programme of events planned for their home pitch.

"It has recently been reported that we will be hosting the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round fixture between East Kilbride and Celtic on Sunday 7 February," they said in a club website statement.

"We have a full programme of academy, youth and community events already planned for that weekend and have no intention of altering our club programme and, as a result, will not be in a position to make New Douglas Park available to stage the tie."

East Kilbride secured the biggest game in their history by beating Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 2-0 on Wednesday.

The SFA announced immediately after the game that the tie would be played at New Douglas Park.

However, East Kilbride pointed out that it had been their seventh choice of venue.

East Kilbride celebrate their fourth-round victory
East Kilbride are through to the fifth round for the first time

They had sent a list to the SFA containing seven possible venues to face the Scottish champions, with their own K Park at the top despite it having a capacity of only around 500.

The SFA later issued a statement clarifying its decision and pointing out that section 13 of the competition's rules stated that, if a club's home ground was unsuitable, a tie would be played at the nearest registered venue.

East Kilbride had also suggested the national stadium at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Celtic Park, Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld, Airdrieonians' Excelsior Stadium and Partick Thistle's Firhill Stadium in preference to Hamilton's ground.

A Hamilton spokesman said they had been sounded at as potential hosts prior to East Kilbride's fourth-round tie, but no subsequent conversation took place ahead of the SFA announcement of the venue.

Following Accies' statement, the SFA has written to East Kilbride with a view to resolving the situation on Tuesday.

Nobody from East Kilbride was available for comment, but a Celtic spokesman said: "As the away team, we have had no part to play in this.

"But, clearly from the perspective of Celtic and our supporters, it is essential that this matter is sorted out as quickly as possible by the SFA and as many fans as possible are able to attend the match."