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Steven McLean: Calling off Aberdeen-Livingston was the right decision

Referee Steven McLean.
Referee Steven McLean.

Referee Steven McLean insists calling off last night’s game between Aberdeen and Livingston was the right decision.

Player safety was at the forefront of McLean’s mind as he made the decision to postpone the game before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Both sides had completed their warm-ups and were ready to come out for the start, when some of them reported concerns to McLean.

The official then conducted a last-minute inspection of the surface and after discussions with both managers, the call was made to shelve the fixture.

“We arrived at the ground two hours before kick off and as normal did a pitch inspection. At that point it was playable, a little bit of water lying on the pitch but it was playable.

“The weather conditions then deteriorated and during the warm up players from both sides reported that they felt the pitch was unsafe and they had problems with their footing.

Referee Steven McLean gives a pre-match pitch inspection due to heavy rain at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

“As a match official that gives you concern. So I agreed and spoke to both clubs and decided to conduct a pitch inspection after the warm-up so I had the whole playing surface to inspect.

“That was done and I then had conversations with representatives of both clubs and agreed the pitch was unsafe to start the match.”

It is the second time the game has been called off in less than a month. The game was originally slated for December 30 but a frozen pitch at the Tony Macaroni Arena put paid to that.

The two sides may be able to try get the game played for a third time later this month, now the Scottish Cup weekend has been cancelled.

McLean added: “Unfortunately it’s really late in the day and it’s disappointing. But my concern is player safety and that has to be the number one priority.

“There’s nothing that can be done. It’s just the timing of the weather conditions that has played it’s part.”

Ground staff sweep rain off the pitch during a Scottish Premiership match between Livingston and Aberdeen at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Livingston boss David Martindale appreciated McLean’s calls but added that concerns mainly came from Aberdeen’s players, given his side are used to the surface.

He said: “I understood the referee’s concerns. Aberdeen and the referee had concerns for the players’ safety. I had concerns too for the players’ safety but I was quite keen to start the game and see how it went.

“I can understand all parties but I’m gutted, the boys are gutted, we are all gutted. It’s a bit of a kick when you’ve been preparing all week for a football match and it doesn’t get played.

“I think Aberdeen players had concerns but the majority of Livingston players were sitting saying they wanted to try and get the game played. Livingston players have got the benefit of playing on this pitch and training on it too when it’s been similar. Aberdeen haven’t got that but I understand all parties.”

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