Hearts and Hibs back SPL decision to postpone fixtures

Edinburgh clubs have welcomed the Scottish Premier League's decision to postpone this weekend's football fixtures due to adverse weather.

With the Scottish Football League due to deliver a verdict today on lower division matches, Hearts manager Jim Jefferies and Hibernian midfielder John Rankin united to support the widespread call-offs.

Hearts were due to face Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday while St Mirren were scheduled to visit Easter Road. With all SPL matches postponed following relentless snowfall and plummeting temperatures, clubs now have the weekend off.

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Jefferies admitted public safety had to be a priority for the SPL and the police, explaining that playable pitches were not sufficient for games to go ahead when roads are chaotic because of the Arctic conditions. Hearts were unable to train on Monday and Tuesday as players struggled to reach the club's training complex at Riccarton on Edinburgh's outskirts.

Only a handful reported for duty yesterday, and Jefferies himself has been snowed in at his home in Lauder since the start of the week.

He said the only sensible decision for this weekend was to call games off. "We have to think about the safety of the people trying to get to the game. The fans' safety is the priority and while pitches might be playable because of the undersoil heating, we have to be wary of asking them to travel in dangerous, freezing conditions.

"We had to cancel training on Monday and Tuesday and a lot of the players didn't make it in yesterday either. The Edinburgh boys all managed to somehow get in and put in a good shift.

"Gary Locke got stuck on his way in and Billy (Brown) only just made it. Even then it was a struggle for him to get to the office from his car.

"We asked the others to get to a local gym to do some work there and keep ticking over.

"It's certainly not ideal but we are in the same boat as most clubs who are facing the same problems. We have an excellent facility at Riccarton but it's getting there that is the problem. Even the staff have been finding it difficult to get in so it is effectively closed."

Rankin endorsed Jefferies' sentiments. While disappointed that Hibs won't get a chance to redeem themselves after dropping points against St Johnstone in their last league outing, he said the SPL had reached the correct decision. "Obviously we were all hoping to get a game, especially after the disappointment of last weekend's game against St Johnstone, but when it comes to people's safety there's not much that you can do," he said. "It was probably a good thing for them to take an early decision because you don't want to be waiting until Saturday morning to find out if your game is on or not.

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"There's more than just the condition of the pitch to consider with these things, the state of the roads and pavements that the fans will have to use to get to the games, as the increased possibility of players getting injured as well. When you take all that into consideration, I don't think they had much choice."