Astroturf pitches should be banned from the Scottish Premiership.
Following Aberdeen’s clash with Livingston at Almondvale being postponed for the second time, the arguments in favour of these artificial surfaces don’t hold water.
The fixture was called off for the first time on December 30 because of frost, but for it to be postponed again because of rain was hugely frustrating.
I don’t expect it to happen, but whether it came from Livingston or the SPFL, I’d like to see the Dons get compensated for their travel expenses, given they’ve had two journeys for nothing.
I’ve never been a lover of these artificial pitches. People tell me they are getting better and better, but – having seen players get injured on them -they have concerned me for a number of years.
When you watch games, the games that are played on these surfaces they are so different from matches played on grass with the way the ball bounces and the way the players move.
But as I understand it the selling point of these astroturf pitches is to be able to deal with freak weather and allow games to be played.
Following a pitch inspection this evening's game with Livingston has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. pic.twitter.com/YFMgMRvBjs
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) January 13, 2021
However, that hasn’t been the case at Almondvale, so what’s the point in having them?
Watching from home, I didn’t think the pitch looked too bad.
But referee Steven McLean inspected the synthetic surface just before the game was due to kick off, he also consulted with the players about it and they felt it was unsafe.
Fair play to McLean, that was sensible refereeing, because ultimately it’s the players who are taking the risk if the game had been started.
Player safety is paramount, so from that perspective postponing the fixture was the right call.
But the whole point of these astroturf “all-weather” pitches is they should allow more games to be on because they can withstand heavy rain like there was on Wednesday.
I can’t ever recall a plastic pitch not being able to withstand rain.
But, after Wednesday’s debacle, astroturf pitches should be banned from the Premiership.
There are three of these surfaces in Scotland’s top flight at Livingston, Hamilton and Kilmarnock, and for me they should return to grass.
If you have a grass pitch with undersoil heating that should stop things like snow or frost putting games off and, when it comes to heavy rain, what happened at Almondvale shows astroturf can be affected by a torrential downpour as much grass.
Meanwhile, Aberdeen will hope to return to winning ways against Ross County tomorrow.
The Reds didn’t play too badly against Rangers last weekend, but, once Ryan Hedges was sent off, it was always going to be a difficult task.
Sitting third in the league, there is still plenty to be positive about for Aberdeen, but they won’t get it easy in Dingwall.
John Hughes’ management style is all about hard work and getting as much as he can out of the players, as a result the Dons will have to outwork County if they’re to pick up the points.
Scott Wright’s expected departure is very disappointing
Scott Wright’s seemingly impending Aberdeen departure is very disappointing.
I’m a big fan of the attacker who has started to produce his very best this season.
Wright has only really begun to cement himself as a regular in Derek McInnes’ side this term and I thought the 23-year-old would see himself being a key member of this Dons team for a number of years.
However, that does not appear to be the case with a possible move to Rangers on the cards.
If Wright was to go to Ibrox, he would have quite a task trying to play regularly given the form of Steven Gerrard’s squad at the moment.
Moving to the Gers will provoke a backlash from Dons fans as well. While nobody likes to see talented players leaving Pittodrie, joining one of Aberdeen’s main rivals makes it more of a bitter pill to swallow for supporters.
Wright will have his reasons for wanting move elsewhere, but it’s still frustrating from a Reds perspective.
It remains to be seen whether the Aberdeen youth academy graduate will move in this month’s transfer window or whether he will leave in the summer.
Although Wright still has plenty of offer on the pitch for the Dons between now and the end of the season, if he has made his mind up about where he wants to go next, I think it would be best for all parties if he moved sooner rather than later.
Right call on part-time game
The decision has been taken to postpone football below the Championship for the rest of the month and I think it’s the right decision.
With a few exceptions, the clubs, players and coaches involved are part-time and have jobs outside of football.
I know some will be working from home, but not all of them can and some will be in workplaces with other people.
And, with Covid-19 infections on the rise, cancelling football for a few weeks means one less environment where these people may be at risk of catching the virus.
With the Premiership and Championship continuing, I know plenty of players and coaches in the lower leagues are keen to carry on, but hopefully come next month they will be able to.