Dickoh wants a winter Hibs can be content with

FRANCIS DICKOH thought he'd left the harsh conditions of a Danish winter behind, only to discover that Scotland has been brought to a standstill by the white stuff too.

The Ghana international, who was born in the Scandinavian country, experienced some of the most severe snowfalls imaginable back in his homeland and admits that he can't believe the chaos that has been caused over here in the past few weeks.

Roads have ground to a halt, schools have been closed and a number of SPL and lower league matches have been wiped out because of the weather - including tonight's scheduled clash with Hamilton at New Douglas Park. Hibs' game against Kilmarnock on Saturday was their first competitive action in a fortnight and Dickoh, who signed for the Easter Road club in the summer from Dutch outfit Utrecht, admits that it has been a frustrating time for players and fans alike.

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He said: "I am kind of used to this type of weather, especially at this time of the year because Scandinavia has similar conditions in the winter months.

"Holland does also, so I knew roughly what to expect - but I have never had so many games cancelled in a few weeks like we have done here. It has been a bit of a surprise to have postponements, but it is what it is and we just have to cope with it the best that we can.

"I wouldn't say that the weather here is any worse than other countries but in places like Scandinavia they are much more prepared for it.

"They are on full alert in these kind of countries when it snows like that and they will make sure that they clear not only the roads but also the stadiums and pitches too so that we can all just carry on as normal.

"I was joking the other day that it seemed like they were waiting for the snow to melt before they tried to clear it!

"Everyone just wants to get on the programme so it is frustrating for me and for the rest of the players - as well as the supporters I would imagine.

"Before the Kilmarnock game, our last match was against St Johnstone and although we didn't win that one, we at least kept a clean sheet and I thought that we were heading in the right direction."

Hibs' state-of-the-art training facilities near Ormiston have come into their own during the cold snap, with players still able to get in decent sessions and a few bounce matches, however Dickoh conceded that he can't wait to get back onto the grass: "We are training indoors right now, which isn't a full-sized pitch, but at least we have the facilities here to make sure that we can get proper sessions under our belts.

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"At the moment between games you have to train on the Astroturf instead of actual grass and that gives a different resistance and bounce and it gives a little delay in your muscles and your reactions as well.

"It's not an excuse for Saturday's game but obviously there are a few things that have been working against everyone in the country right now.

"For the injured players, that is going to take a toll on your muscles and your ligaments.

The guys who have been out for a while and are on their way back have to be even more careful than they maybe normally would and obviously that is going to have an effect."

Certain areas of the Rugby Park pitch were still frozen by the time kick-off came around on Saturday afternoon, with several players losing their footing during the game, but Dickoh insisted that he had nothing but praise for the ground staff who helped ensure that the game would go ahead.

He continued: "Some areas of the pitch were still quite hard but, at the end of the day, I think that they did a good job to make sure that the game was going to be on in the first place.

"There were maybe some areas that were slightly dangerous, if you can say that, but in most parts the pitch looked green and it was equal for everybody so we can't use that as an excuse for what was a poor result for us."

Dickoh spent the first part of this week keeping his fingers crossed that the SPL match with Hamilton would go ahead after problems with their water and electrical systems meant that Accies' pitch was frozen solid on Monday and Tuesday.

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A pitch inspection was scheduled to go ahead this morning, only for SPL chief to call the match off yesterday afternoon when it becaome clear that there wasn't enough time for their undersoil heating to take effect again.

As well as looking to get as much game time in as he can, Dickoh conceded that he would be doubly disappointed to miss out on seeing his family at Christmas time if there are no games on to keep him here. The defender will spend Christmas Day with team-mates Steven Thicot and Sol Bamba and their families but is hoping that they will also have the chance to give the club's supporters a festive gift of a few more points on the board, hopefully starting with the Boxing Day clash with Aberdeen - if that one survives the weather.

"If we hadn't had any games scheduled then I would have hoped to have been able to go home for Christmas - so obviously the more games that are on over the festive period, the better it would feel for me.

"I love playing football and just want to get as many games under my belt as possible and as many points on the board for the club as we can over the next few weeks.

"It's a busy period coming up and I think that everyone is eager to wash away the memory of the defeat to Kilmarnock, so the quicker we get the chance to do that, the better.

"The games against the teams in the bottom half of the table are really important to us right now because we are not in a good position ourselves. We need to make sure that we are winning the games against the teams around us in the league and making the most of it.

"We need a win to improve our league position, but also it would be a good boost for us going into the Christmas period."