02 Mar Morton chief executive calls for Celtic clash to be postponed
Morton chief executive Warren Hawke has called for their trip to Celtic Park to be postponed as he fears fans will risk their lives to make the game.
Celtic declared the areas surrounding their stadium were in good condition with no plans for a pitch inspection ahead of Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final.
All 14 Scottish Professional Football League games this weekend have been postponed amid safety concerns, as well as issues with pitches, but the four Scottish Cup ties remain on.
With Inverclyde particularly badly affected by the snow, Hawke told Morton’s website: “We will have supporters risking life and limb to travel to a football match while the Met Office is issuing warnings to avoid non-essential travel. Ultimately, it isn’t about the area around Celtic Park.
“It’s about people getting out of their driveways and onto the main roads safely and without accident and harm. Therefore, the decision on the game goes much further than ‘is the pitch playable and the stadium clear?’
“We have to look at every single aspect. Supporter safety has to be key and I don’t think anyone can guarantee that at this moment in time and I fear for a lot of Morton supporters trying to get to this game.
“Surely the Scottish Football Association and Police Scotland will come together and make a sensible early decision in the best interests of the safety of everyone.”
However, the SFA defended its approach and reiterated that it would remain in “constant close contact with all clubs concerned, police and local authorities” with the situation to be reviewed regularly on a game-by-game basis.
The governing body’s interim chief executive Andrew McKinlay added: “The safety of supporters, players and staff, as always, remains our top priority. We acknowledge that, either way, some supporters are likely to be left inconvenienced.
“However, we are conscious that a great many have already committed to tickets and travel plans and that – along with improving weather conditions, forecasts from authorities and the views of the majority of the clubs involved – has led to our current stance.
“Any supporter who does decide to travel is urged to do so with caution and consult all relevant public transport and travel bodies before embarking on any journey.
“Conditions are of course changeable and we remain on standby to react to developments.”
Aberdeen and Kilmarnock both agreed their meeting on Saturday should go ahead following talks but the South Stand at Pittodrie will be shut because of problems with the water supply.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson is “quietly confident” their meeting with Hearts at Fir Park on Sunday will survive while Rangers manager Graeme Murty foresees no issues with Ibrox staging Sunday’s visit of Falkirk.
Queen of the South are unhappy with the SPFL after being “ordered” to play Dundee United at Tannadice on Tuesday, seven days after their scheduled meeting was postponed after they arrived.
A club statement read: “Having made a hazardous return trip on Tuesday, with the travel restrictions still in place around the country, most of the weekend’s football already postponed and continued forecasts of snow for the next seven days, we find the decision to insist on us making another lengthy trip on the immediate Tuesday ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, Celtic’s postponed game against Dundee has been rearranged for April 4. Hibernian will host Hamilton 24 hours earlier.