Rangers slam 'negligent and unprofessional' Dundee as SPFL accused of 'embarrassing and avoidable' postponement

Ibrox club issue furious response following second Dens Park call-off

Rangers have accused Dundee of “negligence and unprofessionalism” after their cinch Premiership fixture at Dens Park was postponed for the second time in a month.

The game was originally called off on March 17 due to a waterlogged pitch and the same fate befell Wednesday’s rearranged match after referee Don Robertson deemed the surface unplayable following a 3.30pm inspection.

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Robertson had initially given the match the go ahead following an 11am inspection but persistant rain thoughout the day meant a further check was required where it was determined that the game could not go ahead safely.

Referee Don Robertson calls the Dundee v Rangers match off during a secondary pitch inspection. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)Referee Don Robertson calls the Dundee v Rangers match off during a secondary pitch inspection. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)
Referee Don Robertson calls the Dundee v Rangers match off during a secondary pitch inspection. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)

It is the fifth time a Dundee home match has been postponed this season and has left the Scottish Professional Football League in the position of being unable to fulfill all 33 league fixtures before the scheduled Premiership split this weekend.

The match has been rescheduled for next Wednesday, April 17, live on Sky Sports, with an 8.00pm kick-off, leaving clubs facing a potential wait to discover their fate with Dundee currently in sixth place and in a battle with Hibs and Motherwell to make the top six.

Rangers, who are a point behind Celtic at the top of the table but have a game in hand, have written to the SPFL over the “avoidable and embarrassing” situation and strongly criticised Dundee for failing to get the game on.

A Rangers statement read: “The negligence and unprofessionalism demonstrated by Dundee Football Club, where they have repeatedly breached SPFL rules, continues to have a damaging effect on the top professional league in the country.

“In a week where record TV viewing figures were recorded for a match in the same competition, and this evening’s game due to be televised again by Sky Sports, this episode is deeply embarrassing and has also been eminently avoidable.

“Rangers expects the SPFL to take proportionate and decisive action in accordance with its rules, and the club will continue to make representations to them in the strongest possible manner.

“The club has been repeatedly putting forward solutions to the SPFL, which have not been taken up. It has again proposed a solution to the preparation and execution of this rescheduled fixture and is awaiting a response from the SPFL. As things stand, the rescheduled match will be on Wednesday, April 17 at 8pm. The club considers that this matter has been handled incorrectly throughout by both Dundee and the SPFL.

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“At this time, we sympathise fully once again with our supporters, approximately 4000 of whom were looking forward to attending tonight’s game. Having already been left hugely inconvenienced and out of pocket by the first postponement last month, it is entirely unacceptable and disrespectful on the part of Dundee FC to have allowed this situation to have developed again.”

Robertson revealed a “significant” section of the pitch was waterlogged and unsafe for players but Dundee secretary Eric Drysdale argued that climate change and bad luck in home fixtures falling in storms had impacted the situation.

Drysdale told Sky Sports News: “I can understand that people are annoyed and are looking at this as being Dundee’s fault. What I would say is that, from the research that we’ve done in the last few days, we note that this year’s rainfall is 35 per cent higher than the last 10 years’ average.

“That shows the effects that climate change is having on it and it appears we need to urgently do more work on the Dens Park pitch and we are absolutely up for doing that in the summer.”

Dundee will secure a top-six place on Saturday if they beat Aberdeen at Pittodrie and even a draw could suffice if Motherwell get a result against Hibs, but otherwise the post-split fixtures will need to wait.

SPFL chief operating officer Calum Beattie declared that both clubs had been informed of the prospect of an April 17 game last month should the match be postponed a second time.

Beattie added: “In the last week we have explored other possible options with both clubs but none of them were deemed to be better than our original contingency plan.

“This decision gives this vital fixture the very best chance of being played in front of both sets of supporters and also gives us a week to finalise further contingency planning in the event that the weather unexpectedly deteriorates in the interim.

“There is currently an ongoing disciplinary process regarding pitch issues at Dens Park and the latest developments will form part of those enquiries.”



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