THE much-criticised Hampden pitch will be ripped up and replaced before the QTS Scottish League Cup final.
The surface was described as “shocking” by Celtic skipper Scott Brown after it cut up badly during his side’s semi-final win over Rangers on 1 February.
The turf was recently laid after the stadium was converted back into a football ground following its temporary status as an athletics venue during the Commonwealth Games. But it cannot be repaired and will have to be replaced in time for Celtic’s final clash with Dundee United on 15 March, which is followed by Scotland’s games against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar in the following fortnight.
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Peter Dallas, managing director of Hampden Park, said in a statement: “We brought independent sports turf consultants in last week and they have reported that the current condition of the pitch is a result of a combination of weather, use, and the timing of the pitch having to be laid in November.
“They also reported that, taking into consideration weather forecasts and planned use of the surface between now and the final, provision for re-turfing should be considered to ensure the best possible pitch for the League Cup Final.
“We have now had considerable detailed discussions with the SPFL, the Scottish FA and Queen’s Park Football Club, and have decided to invest in a new pitch.
“We are putting a schedule of works in place to ensure the pitch will be installed in March prior to the final and Scotland internationals.”
The Scottish Professional Football League complained to Hampden Park bosses about the “highly unsatisfactory” pitch after the semi-finals while all four managers criticised the surface.