Grounds people try to clear the Livingston pitch of water
Efforts to dry out the pitch ultimately proved unsuccessful as heavy rain continued to fall

Livingston’s match with Aberdeen has been postponed 10 minutes after the game was scheduled to kick off.

Referee Steven McLean said players felt the pitch was “unsafe” after heavy rain and both managers supported the decision to call the game off.

Efforts to clear the Tony Macaroni Arena pitch of puddles had ensued while the players warmed up.

The Scottish Premiership fixture was previously postponed hours before kick-off on 30 December due to cold weather.

McLean arrived two hours before kick-off on Wednesday and deemed the pitch playable but conducted an inspection after worsening wet weather.

“A really difficult decision,” the official told BBC Scotland. “Since we started the warm-up, it was clear that the pitch had deteriorated since that point that we had arrived at the stadium. An earlier pitch inspection would’ve been of no benefit whatsoever.

“There’s a layer of ice on top of the pitch and then the water’s starting to sit on top of it, which makes it very difficult for players to turn.

“If we start the game given what we knew, that the pitch was unsafe, and somebody becomes injured then that’s a really, really difficult situation to be in. My number one priority is player safety.”

Referee Steven McLean speaks to managers Derek McInnes and David Martindale
Referee McLean speaks to managers Derek McInnes and David Martindale

Both clubs are scheduled to play away from home in the league on Saturday, with Livingston visiting Celtic and Aberdeen taking on Ross County.

Livingston are then due to host Celtic next Wednesday and both clubs have fixtures on the weekend of 23/24 January and on the evening of 27 January, meaning it could be more than two weeks until the postponed game can be played.

The weekend of 30/31 January is currently free for both clubs after their Scottish Cup third-round ties were postponed as part of the Scottish FA’s suspension of football outside the Scottish Premiership and Championship.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was confident travelling down to the game that it was not under threat and said: “Obviously, we’re all keen to get the game on.

“I think the referee’s made the right decision, there’s no doubt about it. I do think that pitch is unsafe and potentially dangerous.

“Obviously the Scottish Cup weekend is a weekend that is free. As soon as we can get it played the better.”

Livingston boss David Martindale agreed and hopes the match can be played on 31 January.

“It would probably be a wee bit better if we played that on the Sunday because we’ve both got a midweek game on the Wednesday and two days’ preparation isn’t ideal,” Martindale explained.

“We can totally understand it, players’ welfare’s got to come first. I’ve never seen the park with that much water on it at any one time. I’ve never seen it collect as much as that.”

Live Text

  1. This match has been postponed to play at a later date.

  2. Posted at 19:1519:15

    Lineups are announced and players are warming up.