STEVEN GERRARD could have around 30,000 Rangers supporters behind him for his Hampden managerial debut after Rangers won a ticket battle with Aberdeen.

The Dons initially demanded a 50/50 split of briefs for the Betfred Cup semi-final showdown but were given an allocation of 16,800 seats, plus debentures, for the match on Sunday, October 28.

Reds supporters will only be accommodated in the South and East Stands and it is Rangers that will have the majority of tickets after refusing to budge in the fight for North Stand places.

The Gers have been given 26,000 tickets so far but that figure could increase once they are handed debenture seats and if Aberdeen don’t sell out in line with SPFL instructions.

A Rangers statement read: “Rangers are pleased that common sense has prevailed and that our supporters will be able to purchase the lion’s share of tickets available for the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Sunday, October 28.

“We have received an allocation of just under 26,000 tickets with the possibility of more, subject to how other sales go.

“It is important to make it clear there had been an attempt to deny Rangers fans all of Hampden’s North Stand but this was resisted fiercely and that entire area will now be a sea of red, white and blue.”

Aberdeen are furious that their fans will not get the chance to purchase tickets for the North Stand and in a statement earlier this week, Reds chief executive Duncan Fraser said: “Given the fantastic travelling support we have as a club we feel it is imperative all our fans are offered the opportunity to enjoy this football spectacle from some of the best seats in the stadium.

“We do not agree with the manner in which the club are being asked to sell the tickets as we know there are a significant number of supporters who would wish to purchase seats in the North Stand from the start.”

But Rangers were determined to ensure that thousands of their supporters were not locked out if their Premiership rivals couldn’t sell all their briefs.

Old Firm counterparts Celtic were left unhappy last season when Hibernian were awarded an even split for their League Cup clash and huge swathes of Hampden remained empty.

Rangers were adamant that a similar situation should not be allowed to arise this time around and were successful in their calls for the Light Blue legions to be housed in the North Stand, West Stand and South Stand at the National Stadium.

The row over allocations comes in the aftermath of a lengthy and public debate regarding the venues for the last four matches between Rangers and Aberdeen and Celtic and Hearts.

The decision to play both fixtures at Hampden on the same day provoked an angry response from Hearts and boss Craig Levein, while Aberdeen were enraged at the proposed midday kick-off time as supporters vented their fury at being asked to travel to Glasgow.

The SPFL performed a U-turn and changed the Hampden kick-off to 4.30pm and switched the second semi-final to BT Murrayfield.

The split of tickets has still upset the Aberdeen hierarchy and Pittodrie board member and commercial director Rob Wicks has called for more ‘transparency’.

He said: “Whilst we are pleased that we have now been able to secure a larger guaranteed allocation of 20,300 tickets for our supporters, the fact that it’s taken ten days since the semi-final draw leaves a lot to be desired.

“These unnecessary delays surrounding the venue and kick off time of our match have impacted upon the time available to sell tickets.

“Last Friday we were told we’d get the North Stand if we sold substantially all of our initial allocation of 16,800 tickets.

“In good faith we gave this information to our fans – only to find out yesterday (Tuesday) that in order to get the North Stand we’d have to sell virtually all of our initial allocation of 16,800 tickets in a matter of just a few days, putting us in an impossible position.

“I’m sure we can all appreciate the SPFL’s desire to see a full stadium and maximise ticket income for these high-profile fixtures but moving forward allocations have to be done on a basis which puts supporters first and without the time constraints we have seen here.

“We at Aberdeen are calling for more transparency within the game in Scotland. Our fans deserve to know these facts.

“We must put fans first. We sincerely hope the SPFL will have learnt from this experience and that we don’t see a repeat.”

HeraldScotland | Sport

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