Sport Soccer

Monday 24 July 2017

Police force SPL to call off all fixtures amid safety concerns

Roddy Forsyth

Scottish football is to have an enforced winter break, thanks to the Arctic conditions that have gripped the country.

The SPL has called off all six of the fixtures scheduled for Saturday, not as a consequence of unplayable pitches but because of police concerns about the hazards of travel and access to stadiums.

None of the SPL games will be rearranged for next midweek because the Met Office forecast is for the freezing conditions to persist until Wednesday at least.

The Scottish Football League will decide today if it is possible for any of its fixtures to go ahead, but already the First Division meeting of Dunfermline Athletic and Partick Thistle has been postponed, as has Berwick Rangers' clash with East Stirlingshire.

Although the prospects are bleak, the SFL wants to assess the possibility of matches taking place where the contending clubs are in proximity to each other.

Two of last weekend's SPL games -- Dundee United v Rangers and Motherwell v Hearts -- were called off on Sunday and have still to be rescheduled, as have seven SFL and Scottish Cup fixtures which fell foul of the weather on Tuesday.

As matters stand, the only Scottish team with a confirmed game in prospect are Rangers, who will fly out on Sunday for their Champions League meeting with Bursaspor in Turkey.

Schedule

Meanwhile, Mark McGhee parted company with Aberdeen last night. The 53-year-old has found himself under increasing pressure following a run of poor results, but had recently been given a vote of confidence by the Pittodrie board.

Aberdeen have suffered defeat in their last six games in the SPL , including the 9-0 thrashing to Celtic last month, and sit second from bottom of the table.

The Dons were set to face Celtic again this weekend, before all SPL games were postponed.

Fellow SPL managers Derek McInnes and Terry Butcher, who have impressed with St Johnstone and Inverness respectively, could find themselves in contention for the job.

Out-of-work bosses John Hughes, Gus MacPherson and former Dons hero Gordon Strachan could also be in the frame, along with Billy Stark, who is currently boss of the Scotland U-21s.

Scottish tycoon Craig Whyte's bid to buy Rangers remains on course and a takeover could yet be completed by Christmas.

Whyte is set to hold further talks with owner David Murray and it is understood that Rangers' debt will be wiped out and significant funds made available for new players if Whyte succeeds with his buy-out of the club. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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