All of Saturday’s SPFL matches involving north-east and north clubs, including the games involving Aberdeen and Ross County, as well as the Highland League fixtures, have been postponed due to Storm Babet.
With a red “danger to life” weather warning for Aberdeenshire and Tayside extended to midnight on Saturday, as well as an amber warning covering part of the Highlands, the SPFL and Police Scotland made the call to shelve a host of SPFL fixtures in the region.
Strong gales and heavy rainfall have been battering the north-east since Thursday, making travel in, out and through affected areas difficult and treacherous.
The Dons were set to host Dundee in the Premiership at 6pm on Saturday, but the match will now be played on a yet-to-be-confirmed later date.
Aberdeen chief executive Alan Burrows backed the authorities’ postponement call, saying: “Given the current awful weather and the updated warnings now in place for Saturday, and the associated risk that would pose to the players, staff, and supporters of both clubs, postponing this match to a later date was the only sensible and logical step.
“It goes without saying that we would ask everyone to heed the current warnings and advice and stay safe until the worst of the weather has passed.”
Burrows revealed Pittodrie itself has suffered damage during the stormy conditions, with wind damage and flooding to the Richard Donald Stand and Main Stand.
On Thursday, Reds gaffer Barry Robson was forced to axe training as the Dons squad took shelter from the elements inside Cormack Park.
Games involving Ross County, Caley Thistle, Cove, Peterhead and Elgin also shelved due to weather
The enforced changes to the SPFL fixture schedule go beyond the top-flight game between Aberdeen and Dundee.
There is also an amber weather warning in place for the Highlands on Saturday.
As a result, on Saturday morning, it was confirmed Ross County’s Premiership game at home to St Mirren has been postponed.
Following consultation with the SPFL and Police Scotland, our home match against St Mirren scheduled for today has been postponed.
The date and kick-off time of the rearranged match will be confirmed in due course. pic.twitter.com/nk93V3Z85h
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) October 21, 2023
This followed news on Friday night Caley Thistle’s Championship trip to Greenock to face Morton was also off.
Back in the Granite City, Cove Rangers’ League One meeting with Montrose has also been postponed.
It is a similar story for the north-east and north duo in League Two, with Peterhead’s trip to Stenhousemuir and Elgin City’s home clash with Forfar Athletic at Borough Briggs both off.
All of those matches had been scheduled for 3pm.
Calum Beattie, SPFL chief operating officer, said: “We have been in close contact with Police Scotland and our clubs and it’s clear that we continue to face very severe weather, particularly in the North East, in the coming days.
“We never postpone any matches lightly, but our discussions with the emergency services left us in no doubt that this was the correct decision.”
An SPFL statement added: “The SPFL will continue to monitor the situation involving remaining fixtures across the country, and new dates for the postponed fixtures will be announced in due course.”
Saturday’s nine Breedon Highland League matches (all scheduled for 3pm) have also been postponed due the weather and related safety concerns.
— Scottish Highland Football League (@LeagueHighland) October 21, 2023
Secretary John Campbell said: “After having lost a number of games due to heavy water on the pitch and ongoing adverse weather conditions, coupled with further advice and guidance from all partners (including authorities), the Scottish Highland Football League has taken the decision to postpone all games due to the ongoing risk to public safety which would be caused by travel that is preventable.
“The league apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, especially in areas where the actual pitches were and remained playable, however, having given time to see the movement and risk the weather was causing, it was felt that with the high winds and heavy water fall not easing, and (with) weather warnings being extended, the risk to public safety was too great and the decision was made to postpone all games and re-schedule at a later date.”
The 15 North Region Junior FA games this weekend had already been called off, with the North Caledonian League also affected.
In rugby, Highland’s National One trip Ayr is postponed, as well as the games involving the club’s other sides scheduled for Saturday.