SRU denies turning stadium into 'tip'

THE Scottish Rugby Union has flatly denied a claim that their players left Pittodrie in a mess after the autumn Test triumph over Canada on Saturday.

Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood accused both teams and the match officials of failing to treat the facilities with any respect – claiming the changing rooms had been abandoned in a "disgraceful state."

But last night it emerged that Calderwood hadn't even seen the so-called "absolute tip" and was making the allegations on the strength of tittle-tattle from cleaners.

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Red-faced club backroom staff admitted Calderwood's outburst was "totally over the top" and insisted the Scots rugby side will be welcome back "at any time."

An SRU spokesman declared: "The Scotland rugby team always respects changing rooms and facilities, whether home or away and Saturday at Pittodrie was no exception."

He was backed up by a senior Aberdeen FC insider, who stressed: "The changing rooms were left in no worse or better a state than after any SPL fixture.

"You also have to consider the fact that they were being used by 15 players in the starting line-up and seven substitutes – along with all the physios and medics.

"Rugby players also have much more in the way of strapping and other disposable equipment.

"There were no problems. As far as the club are concerned, Jimmy's views on the matter were based on hearsay. What he said was totally over the top.

"He was at Ibrox with the team at the time and so was not in a position to witness the condition of the changing rooms.

"Saturday was a great occasion for Pittodrie. We staged a major sporting event, attracted a big crowd and Scotland pulled off an excellent victory.

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"As far as we are concerned, the Scotland rugby squad will be welcomed back with open arms any time in the future."

In his rant, Calderwood described the rugby international as a "fabulous occasion with a near sell-out crowd" but added: "When staff came in to clean up the dressing rooms they couldn't believe the mess.

"It was an absolute tip to put it mildly and the officials' room was worst of the lot. It seemed as if they had never been told what bins are for. No SPL club has ever left Pittodrie in such a state and when we are on our travels we always tidy up before we leave.

"Rugby apparently has a very different code of behaviour and it was very disappointing to see our ground abused like that.

"It was the board's decision to stage the event and in my opinion it wasn't taken to generate more income in the current financial climate. It was taken to show certain people Aberdeen is capable of handling an international match."

Calderwood also moaned about the state of the playing surface, which had to be swept of snow before the kick-off.

"The weather was more of a factor than the actual rugby and right now the pitch has not recovered. It's not at its best but by Thursday I should be able to give a more accurate assessment of the playing surface."