East Kilbride Head To Airdrie For Celtic Tie
27 January 2016, 07:05
East Kilbride are happy with the new venue for their William Hill Scottish Cup clash with Celtic after Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium was selected to stage the fifth-round tie.
The Scottish Football Association announced that the game would be played at Airdrie 24 hours after Hamilton declared they had "no intention'' of hosting the game at New Douglas Park.
The SFA had announced Hamilton's ground as the venue moments after Billy Ogilvie's side beat Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in the fourth round last Wednesday.
East Kilbride chairman Mark Horner said in a statement: "We've been in talks with various stadiums all day and put forward the Excelsior as the best, nearest and most suitable stadium to host the game against Celtic and we are delighted the SFA have agreed.
"The stadium is modern, a great size and the surface is similar to K-Park, which Billy and the players are delighted about.
"The stadium also has great disabled access, which is another plus point as we are planning to take hundreds of children from East Kilbride with ASN (additional support needs) to the game.
"We are all really looking forward to what will be a great occasion for the club and the town.''
Airdrie's ground holds around 10,000 fans - 4,000 more than their Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton.
The Lowland League club had been asked by the SFA after the draw to list their preferred alternatives to K-Park, which was deemed unsuitable on safety grounds.
The top two choices were Hampden and Celtic Park while the Excelsior came next alongside Firhill or Broadwood. New Douglas Park was effectively East Kilbride's seventh choice and Hamilton said their ground was already booked for their youth and community programmes on the day of the game, February 7.
The SFA board had selected Hamilton, citing the competition rule that the nearest registered ground to East Kilbride's should stage the game. Hampden is the next closest but the SFA only released a brief statement outlining the new venue.
It read: "Following discussions with East Kilbride FC, the Scottish FA board have approved the Excelsior Stadium as the host venue for the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round match between East Kilbride and Celtic on Sunday, 7 February.''