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Rangers ‘angered’ by manner of late Dundee postponement

Rangers have hit out at the manner of the late decision to call off their game at Dundee on Sunday, saying they were left “angered” by a lack of communication.

Philippe Clement’s side had been due to play at midday on Sunday, but following two pitch inspections earlier in the day, the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch by match referee Don Robertson.

The latest call-off marks Dundee’s third home postponement in the Scottish Premiership this season, after games against Aberdeen and St Johnstone were also called off around Christmas.

Match official Robertson told Sky Sports the main concern involved an area in front of one of the dugouts, which had been treated with sand but was still too waterlogged to be deemed safe.

“I was aware Dundee and the ground staff were working very hard on that specific area of the pitch as well as others causing them concern,” he said.

“But unfortunately, what they’ve been able to do hasn’t been enough to make the area safe for the players and that’s the primary consideration in these matters. I know they’ve got a lot of sand, tried to remove some of the water, but it wasn’t safe at 10.15am so unfortunately it’s been postponed.

“We’re guided by the home club in this situation. They will have first sight of the pitch, they arrived this morning and saw areas of concern and contacted the league and the Scottish FA.

“A local official came to do a primary pitch inspection, but it was agreed between the clubs and the SPFL that they would wait until 10.15am to conduct the final inspection of the pitch.”

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Don Robertson, the match official for Dundee vs Rangers, explains why the match was called off

The postponement means Celtic will end the weekend top of the table, following their 3-1 win over St Johnstone on Saturday.

In a strongly-worded statement on their website, Rangers claimed they had not been informed of any potential issues with the playing surface at Dens Park until Sunday morning, and questioned why they had not been raised sooner.

“Rangers, on behalf of our supporters, are extremely disappointed and angered with the late call-off of today’s match,” they wrote.

“The first team have prepared as normal for the match, and it was not until this morning that any concerns over the playing surface were raised.

“It is not understood why the home club did not raise those concerns in a more timely manner, given the reoccurring issues they have had with their playing surface at earlier points in the season.

“The Rangers team and thousands of our supporters had already arrived at the stadium by the time a decision was reached.

“This is the only match in the entire UK senior leagues to be postponed this weekend, and given it was to be shown on Sky Sports nationwide, reflects poorly on our game.”

Clement: It’s a crazy situation

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Rangers boss Philippe Clement takes a dig at Dundee FC’s pitch after being disappointed that their Scottish Premiership clash was postponed due to the condition of the surface.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement told Sky Sports:

“I’m very, very, very disappointed in many ways. We didn’t know anything that there was a problem, nobody contacted us, not yesterday evening, not overnight or this morning. Our kit man was here early and he told us there was the problem.

“That’s a really strange thing for me. Secondly, I think it will be the only game in all the leagues in Scotland postponed [today]. That’s a crazy situation. If you are playing in the Scottish Premiership, you should be playing with the highest standards and the best pitches also.

“The television pays a lot of money to broadcast it, fans pay a lot of money to attend, and now the game is postponed – it’s a really strange situation.”

Dundee owner Nelms: We did everything we could

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Dundee manager Tony Docherty is disappointed his side’s home match with Rangers has been postponed, but understands that officials have a job to do.

Dundee owner John Nelms told Sky Sports:

“We’re supposed to be one of the most robust leagues in the world, the ball is rolling, we’ve had guys out here since 5am. Mother Nature’s done what she’s done, we’ve done everything we could to get this pitch in the right place.

“There are two small spots where the ball isn’t bouncing, as we speak. The rest of the pitch is fine, they said they don’t think we’ll be able to get it playable before 12pm, so that’s where we’re at.”

In pictures: Why Rangers’ trip to Dundee was called off

What’s next?

Dundee return to Scottish Premiership action after the international break at home to St Johnstone on March 30, while Rangers face Hibs at Ibrox.

Both games kick off at 3pm.

Sky News
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