AN SNP MP has written to Scots football bosses raising “deep concern” about the timing of the Scottish Cup final – which was changed to avoid clashing with the FA cup final in England, according to reports.

Both the Scottish final and the other south of the Border are due to be played on Saturday, June 3, and both had been expected to kick off at 3pm.

But one month ahead of the game, on May 3, the SFA announced that the Scottish championship game between Celtic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle would not begin until 5:30pm.

Reports said this was to avoid a clash with the 3pm kick-off of Manchester United vs Manchester City in the FA cup final.

Now, the SNP’s Drew Hendry, Inverness’s MP, has written to the SFA to express concerns around the reasoning for the decision, the effect it will have on travelling fans, and the message it sends about Scottish football.

“It has been suggested that this decision was made to avoid a clash with the FA cup final in England, which, if true, is wholly unacceptable and sends the wrong message about the importance of the Scottish Cup final to fans in Scotland,” Hendry wrote.

“Furthermore, this change in kick-off time creates a major inconvenience for supporters travelling from the Highlands. As you are aware, Inverness Caledonian Thistle is playing Celtic in the final, and there are no trains or buses available for fans from Inverness to catch to travel home after the game if it is played this late.

“This lack of adequate transport arrangements not only inconveniences fans but also presents a safety risk for supporters who may have to resort to other means of transportation.

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“The Scottish Cup final is the crown jewel of the Scottish football calendar, and a 3pm kick-off time has long been the traditional time for this event. Changing this tradition for the sake of avoiding a clash with the FA Cup final in England is unacceptable, and I would urge you to reconsider the kick-off time to reflect the stature of the game more accurately.

"If the kick-off time must remain at 5:30pm, I would like to request that adequate transport arrangements be made for supporters. This could include, for example, liaising with Scotrail to enable extra trains from [Glasgow] direct to Inverness that would be specifically for fans and take into consideration the possibility of the game going to extra time or penalties and also allowing for potential celebrations on the pitch.

“As the governing body of Scottish football, you have a responsibility to ensure that fans can travel to and from games easily and safely. To put either of these in jeopardy to prevent clashes with any game taking place in another nation is grossly misjudged, to say the least.

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“I hope you will take these concerns seriously and take appropriate action to ensure that the Scottish Cup final is given the respect it deserves.”

Celtic had previously expressed its dissatisfaction with the change in the timetable for the cup final, which will be played at Glasgow’s Hampden Park.

The club said in a statement: “We are hugely disappointed that the Scottish Cup Final has been moved from its traditional 3pm slot, something we don’t believe was necessary, or in the best interests of both sets of supporters.

“Additionally, there was no meaningful consultation with Celtic on this matter, in terms of assessing the many issues affecting supporters attending the match – something which is also extremely regrettable.”

Inverness CT also expressed disappointment, saying in a statement: “It is certainly not in the interest of both sets of fans and, as we know, our own supporters will be greatly inconvenienced by the travel challenges they now face.”

With the Scottish cup final kicking off at 5:30pm, it can expect to finish around 7:15pm, if there is no need to play extra time or penalties. There is only one feasible train from Glasgow to Inverness after that time on Saturday, leaving at 19:37 and with a change in Perth.

There are no coaches available, according to listings on Trainline.

The SFA has been approached for comment.