A bid to insert a rule which would require pitches in the Ladbrokes Premiership not exceed a certain length has been rejected.
The idea came on the back of the fallout from Celtic’s 3-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle Park in May when Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers complained about the length of the pitch, labelling it “embarrassing”.
After the match he said: “I thought the win was outstanding but I’m a little bit embarrassed because of the pitch. You talk about standards and this is a great club, Hearts, a really passionate club.
“This is about the product of Scottish football – not just about Celtic. I’m talking about youngsters and gifted players in their team who can’t dribble or pass it because of the grass. If that’s what you want to do then fine but – it’s not football. Of course it’s gamesmanship but that’s 30 years ago, Christ. [Scotland] haven’t qualified for [a major tournament] in 20-odd years and we’re trying to develop players and a product here to move the game on.”
It brought a stinging rebuke by Hearts manager Craig Levein: “So if we cut all the grass short, then we’ll go to the finals. Brilliant. Why did nobody think of that? That’s unbelievable. I make no excuses for trying to win the game. It’s just a nonsense. They actually won the game as well. What would have happened if they had lost?
“The development of players for me is about giving them the opportunity to play – much, much more than the length of the grass. It’s a serious thing. Some clubs in this country have got fantastic players at 18, 19, 20 and never play them. They go and get loan players from elsewhere, who are the same age, and don’t play their own kids. That hampers Scotland’s development.”
The Daily Record report that the idea for the rule was put forward league’s AGM. It would have meant no top-flight playing surface could exceed three centimetres.
For the rule to be given the go-ahead it required eight votes but it fell one short.