Rangers cup tie at Tannadice

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The Independent Online
Caledonian Thistle's Tennent's Scottish Cup quarter-final against Rangers has been switched to Dundee United's Tannadice ground. However, the Scottish champions have agreed to send a team to Inverness at the start of next season to mark the opening of Caledonian's new pounds 3.5m stadium.

The offer is compensation for the Third Division side, who had hoped the cup tie on 9 March would be the last played at their 5,500-capacity Telford Street home. Now it will go ahead at Tannadice, which has a capacity of 12,614.

Telford Street has been staging Scottish Cup football for more than a century, and a farewell match against Rangers would have been a profitable gate for Caledonian. Instead, the Scottish Football Association ruled against Rangers visiting Telford Street for safety reasons, and also blocked any prospect of switching the tie to Ibrox.

"Tannadice was the suggestion, with the fact that it has undersoil heating a major factor," the Thistle chairman, Doug McGilvray, said. "We wanted the game to go ahead in Inverness at Telford Street but that will not be possible for safety reasons.

"We could have sold the ground out time and again such is the interest in the Highlands to back us against Rangers. Now we will go to Dundee with Rangers having 5,000 tickets and us taking 7,500, which I am convinced will be sold very quickly.

"However, Rangers have made a marvellous gesture to us by agreeing to send a team north in September or October next season to mark the opening of our new stadium."

The switch to Tannadice will be financially beneficial to Dundee United, who visit Celtic for their quarter-final the following day. Gate receipts will ensure Caley earn only around pounds 50,000 from their fixture against such Rangers luminaries as Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup.

Their fans will face a 250-mile round trip to see a "home" game, but long journeys are fortnightly events in their league programme.

The Motherwell manager, Alex McLeish, is poised to move into the transfer market again in an attempt to fend off relegation. McLeish is close to completing a swap deal to bring the midfielder Brian Hamilton from Hearts, with Jamie Dolan going to Tynecastle.

Hamilton, 28, has been with both Edinburgh clubs, Hibernian and Hearts, but has struggled to break into the first-team under Jim Jefferies. The 27-year-old Dolan broke through to the senior side in 1987 from the Fir Park club's junior team.

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