ROSS COUNTY are confident tomorrow night’s SPL clash with Hibs will go ahead after spending a five-figure sum on emergency pitch repairs at Victoria Park.
Hearts were left fuming at the end of last month when their match against the Staggies in Dingwall was postponed just an hour before kick-off after referee Iain Brines ruled the pitch was unplayable following a heavy downpour. The Tynecastle outfit claimed they had lost £4000 on overnight accommodation having travelled the previous day while an estimated 800 fans were also left out of pocket.
That game has been rearranged for this Saturday with County chairman Roy MacGregor promising to lay on free buses for Hearts supporters.
County’s pitch was still waterlogged four days later, forcing the Highland derby against Inverness to also be called off but, despite heavy rain again being forecast ahead of tomorrow’s match, MacGregor doesn’t believe there will be any problems.
The club have worked with contractors to solve a drainage problem which caused the double festive postponement and have bought rain covers to help prevent a repeat although they could face further expenditure for permanent repairs in the summer.
While admitting the pitch “doesn’t look great”, MacGregor said: “The work we have done wasn’t cheap. I think it will be fine, I’m pretty confident. I can’t see the water getting through the rain covers.”
One player who will have his fingers crossed that MacGregor’s optimism proves well-founded will be Hibs boss Pat Fenlon’s first January signing, former Dundee United midfielder Scott Robertson who is in line to make his debut tomorrow night having joined the Easter Road club on a free transfer from English Championship outfit Blackpool.
The 27-year-old only made the move south last summer but failed to claim a first-team place at Bloomfield Road, playing only one match, and had his three-year deal with the Seasiders terminated by mutual consent, paving the way for a return to the SPL.
Having penned a two-and-a-half year deal with Hibs, Robertson revealed it was the lure of regular first-team football which helped clinch the move. The twice-capped Scotland star said: “It all came about rather quickly, I heard of the interest from Pat Fenlon, I wasn’t getting a chance at Blackpool and was wanting to play football again.
“I was six months at Blackpool and I only got one game after going from playing a full season with Dundee United the season before. It wasn’t great to be doing that, so I’m looking forward to challenging for a first-team place here.”
And Fenlon disclosed he’s hoping Robertson, who began his career at Dundee, will help provide the goals from the middle of the park to take the pressure off 15-goal Leigh
Griffiths and his fellow striker Eoin Doyle.
The Hibs manager said: “Scott will be a valuable addition to our squad, he’s a skilful box-to-box midfielder who is strong in the air and can provide goals. He has signed until the summer of 2015 which brings continuity and we believe he is the type of player our fans will enjoy watching perform.”