Date: 24th May 2020 at 9:34am
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Neil Lennon is open to completing the Scottish Cup as soon as football returns even if the last three matches have to be played Behind Closed Doors.

Completing the final competition of the 2019/20 season is important on a football front but after missing out on a play-off against Israel and hosting four matches of Euro 2020 the SFA are badly in need of cash.

Celtic v Aberdeen and Hearts v Hibs followed by the final would provide three 50,000 plus crowds averaging at around £30 a ticket to keep things ticking over at the SFA who are now responsible for the upkeep of Hampden as well as large numbers of staff.

The Joint Response Group for Scottish football will meet the Government on Friday to discus a return to action with Lennon keen to get back to work with his record-breaking squad.

Discussing the Scottish Cup, the Celtic boss told The Scotsman:

It would be magic to have the opportunity to play for it. If we can fit that in then I am all for that. The SFA have been saying they do want it completed and I think the four clubs who are involved in the competition would want that as well. I think playing it over the course of three or four days, maybe Wednesday and a weekend, would be absolutely fine.

The maximum number of games we would play in that would be two and that is if we can overcome Aberdeen. So I don’t think it would have a huge bearing on next season. If we can do it, great. If not then we just have to accept that and move on to concentrate on the future.

At the minute we are looking to play any kind of football. Until we find a remedy to get supporters back in, behind closed doors is going to be a way to play our football. I enjoyed watching the Bundesliga last weekend – it was good to see live football back. I watched Cologne v Mainz, that was a really good game considering. I felt the players in all the games I watched over three days made it a good spectacle but the novelty might wear off on that.

It is not ideal; we have to find that balance in terms of safety of the public and safety of the players and playing competitive football. Of course, not having supporters is a huge loss. I can understand Hearts fans saying their team might not be as strong when the games are played. We will be ready and prepared for whatever eventuality the SFA come forward with, but all four clubs would have to agree.

Right now we’re gearing for 10 June and I’m hoping to get some sort of clarity on what we can and can’t do with the players from that date on in terms of training in small groups and hopefully opening it up. We’re being directed by the government and health authorities.

No club has ever won the Scottish Cup four years running but the hoops are just two wins away from that landmark and trophy number 111 as they chase world record holders Al Ahly of Egypt who currently have 118 to their name.