Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes attached no blame to Livingston as their Scottish Premiership game at the Tony Macaroni Arena was postponed after the scheduled kick-off.
The artificial pitch was deemed “unsafe” by referee Steven McLean after a downpour caused it to be waterlogged.
Ground staff had been sweeping water off the surface throughout the warm-up but McLean’s last-minute pitch inspection led to discussions with both management teams and the game was called off.
It was a second wasted trip to West Lothian for the Dons – the game was originally scheduled for December 30 but was postponed on the day because of a frozen pitch.
McInnes said: “It looked dangerous, it is dangerous. The amount of water on the pitch is unusual, I think it caught us out to be honest. There’s no blame to Livingston here.
“We all agreed the pitch was unsafe and the only debate we had was whether we started it or delayed the game, but the forecast was that it was to remain like this all night.
“The groundsmen were sweeping off the water but they obviously couldn’t have done that once the game started. It was going to get worse.
“It’s a real frustration that we’ve come all the way down for the second time, but there’s no blame attached to Livingston.
“At no point during the day, even when we arrived at the stadium, did we think there was any doubt.”
McInnes added: “The referee, quite cleverly in my opinion, went around the senior players that he’s obviously known for a long time in my team and in the Livingston team and asked their opinion.
“Obviously, managers can influence this kind of thing, but the players expressed concern, the ref then asked the players if they thought the pitch was unsafe and dangerous and the consensus from all the players was that it was. And he’s right with that.”
The referee said the pitch was playable when he arrived two hours before kick-off but players “from both sides” felt the pitch was unsafe as rain fell during the warm-up.
McLean added: “Unfortunately it’s really late in the day and it’s disappointing. But my concern is player safety and that has to be the number one priority.
“There’s nothing that can be done. It’s just unfortunate timing of the weather conditions.”
🆕| Tonight's game with Aberdeen has been postponed.— Livingston FC (@LiviFCOfficial) January 13, 2021
Livingston boss David Martindale was happy to start the game but understood the call.
“Aberdeen players had concerns but the majority of Livingston players were sitting saying they wanted to try and get the game played,” he added.
“Livingston players have got the benefit of playing on this pitch and training on it too when it’s been similar. Aberdeen haven’t got that but I understand all parties.”
When asked about the pitch’s drainage, Martindale said: “What you’ve got under the park is basically a road made of tarmac and asphalt which is porous.
“There’s thousands of small holes and it’s easy for it to get frozen and that’s what the rain’s got to get through to drain. I’m assuming there are still parts of the tarmac frozen but I don’t know.”
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