SFA & SPFL release statement after Hampden pitch troubles for Celtic and co

By Lewis Laird

January 16, 2023

The SFA and SPFL has released a statement on the condition of the Hampden Park pitch, which was the topic of much discussion this past weekend.

The country’s national stadium played host to the first two cup semi-finals of the 2022/23 campaign.

Celtic, Kilmarnock, Aberdeen and Rangers all played it out at Mount Florida for a spot in the Viaplay Cup final, taking place next month.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

In the end, it was the two Glasgow sides who came out on top, setting up an exciting Glasgow Derby fixture on the 26th of February.

Of course, as is expected in Scottish Football, there was much discussion surrounding other topics, such as refereeing decisions.

However, one of the major talking points to come out of the weekend was the Hampden Park playing surface.

Ange Postecoglou’s side took to the surface first against Kilmarnock, on a dreadful Saturday evening, with the pitch feeling the consequences of the weather.

Throughout the 90 minutes, it became a bit of a slog between the two teams, with the Bhoys finding it slightly difficult to get their free-flowing football going.

Ange Postecoglou, Joe Hart and Callum McGregor all gave their thoughts on the difficult playing surface after the game, admitting their disappointment at the surface.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

That wasn’t going to mean that the Hoops would be making any excuses, and they ultimately ran out 2-0 winners over the Rugby Park side.

The damage was clearly carried over to the following day for Aberdeen’s tie against Rangers, with Hampden Park clearly being affected by the poor weather.

In a country like Scotland, there isn’t anything we can do to control the dreadful weather we receive. However, complaints from all four clubs would be understandable after playing out of the country’s national stadium.

SFA release statement after Celtic and co’s Hampden surface issues.

This evening, the SFA has released a statement regarding the playing surface at Hampden, stating that ‘enhanced pitch maintenance provision is being investigated as a priority’.

The full statement read [via The Scotsman]: “The Scottish FA and Scottish Professional Football League have today discussed ways in which we can mitigate the ongoing inclement weather to optimise the playing surface for the Viaplay Cup Final next month and forthcoming international matches at Hampden Park.

Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

“The inclement weather conditions, allied to the fixture schedule being dictated by a winter World Cup, contributed to the underfoot conditions during two otherwise exciting and entertaining semi-final ties.

“Whilst significant work was completed in late October, enhanced pitch maintenance provision is being investigated as a priority to ensure the best possible surface is available for the remainder of the season, notwithstanding the sustained forecast for more rain and challenging weather conditions.”

With a busy schedule of fixtures to come at Hampden Park, including next month’s cup final, three Scottish Cup fixtures, alongside Scotland National team matches, you would hope that this issue is sorted quickly.

The right steps appear to be underway, with an investigation getting started in order to make sure the pitch is at its highest standard for the remainder of the campaign.

Saturday and Sunday’s cup ties were far from ideal, and hopefully, this is a problem which is resolved in the near future by the SFA and SPFL.

In other news, Greenock Morton fail in bid to sign ex-Celtic striker Nadir Ciftci ahead of Paradise visit.)