Scottish Premiership
Venue: Tony Macaroni Arena

Livingston v Aberdeen postponed minutes after scheduled kick-off

'No benefit from earlier inspection'

Livingston's Scottish Premiership match with Aberdeen was postponed 10 minutes after it was scheduled to kick off.

Efforts to clear the Tony Macaroni Arena pitch of puddles continued while the players warmed up.

But referee Steven McLean said players felt the pitch was "unsafe" after heavy rain and both managers supported the decision to call the game off.

The fixture was previously postponed hours before kick-off on 30 December because of cold weather.

McLean arrived two hours before the scheduled start time and deemed the pitch playable but conducted an inspection after worsening wet weather.

"A really difficult decision," he told BBC Scotland. "Since we started the warm-up, it was clear that the pitch had deteriorated since we had arrived. An earlier inspection would've been of no benefit.

"There's a layer of ice on top of the pitch and then the water's starting to sit on top of it, which makes it very difficult for players to turn. My number one priority is player safety."

Grounds people try to clear the Livingston pitch of water
Efforts to dry out the pitch ultimately proved unsuccessful as heavy rain continued to fall

Both clubs are scheduled to play away from home in the league on Saturday, with Livingston visiting Celtic and Aberdeen taking on Ross County.

Livingston are then due to host Celtic next Wednesday and both clubs have fixtures on the weekend of 23-24 January and on the evening of 27 January, meaning it could be more than two weeks until the postponed game can be played.

The weekend of 30-31 January is currently free for both clubs after their Scottish Cup third-round ties were postponed as part of the Scottish FA's suspension of football outside the top two tiers.

Late call-off is the right decision - McInnes

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said: "I think the referee's made the right decision, there's no doubt about it. I do think that pitch is unsafe and potentially dangerous.

"Obviously the Scottish Cup weekend is free. As soon as we can get it played the better."

Livingston boss David Martindale agreed and hopes the match can be played on 31 January.

"It would probably be a wee bit better if we played that on the Sunday because we've both got a midweek game on the Wednesday and two days' preparation isn't ideal," Martindale explained.

"We can totally understand it, players' welfare's got to come first. I've never seen the park with that much water on it at any one time. I've never seen it collect as much as that."

'We were quite keen to try and start the game'
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