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Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Saturday, 9 January 2010

Six Scottish Cup ties beat freeze


Livingston FC are one of many clubs whose clearing efforts have been in vain

Only six of the weekend's 16 Scottish Cup ties have survived the freezing temperatures across the country so far.

Dunfermline's East End Park passed a Saturday morning pitch inspection ahead of Stenhousemuir's visit.

And police are happy with the area around Pittodrie, so Aberdeen's game at home to Hearts will go ahead.

Hibernian v Irvine Meadow, St Mirren's tie against Alloa and Sunday's match at New Douglas Park between Rangers and Hamilton have also beaten the freeze.

Thursday pitch inspections ruled out the fourth-round ties being hosted by Albion Rovers, Ayr, Edinburgh City, Forfar, Raith Rovers and Ross County.

Road conditions put paid to games at Inverness and Livingston.

Kilmarnock's game was also postponed because of police concerns on Wednesday, while Morton versus Celtic went off because of a frozen pitch.

More ties could be disrupted as the icy weather threatens to wipe out the weekend card.

A Scottish Football Association spokesman said: "Due to the extreme weather conditions, we have been proactive in encouraging early pitch inspections.

"Clubs are also advised to liaise with local authorities with regard to the surrounding areas of their grounds."

The SFA will give clubs as long as it can but promises there will be no repeat of the late postponement at Falkirk last weekend.

"Under the Scottish FA cup competition rules, pitch inspections can be carried out no later that four hours prior to kick-off but given the weather forecast for the week ahead, it is prudent for inspections to be carried out as quickly as possible," said the spokesman.

The forecast is for the freezing weather to continue into the weekend, making it almost impossible for clubs with no undersoil heating to make their pitches playable.

Morton manager James Grady said the postponement was the right decision but conceded his players were disappointed to miss Saturday's game against Celtic.

"We're disappointed as all the boys were looking forward to it," he told BBC Scotland.

"There'll be a lot more games than just ours put off this weekend so we shouldn't feel too hard done by."

Treacherous conditions mean there is also no guarantee that cup games at Scottish Premier League grounds will go ahead.

Despite the pitches being playable, SPL games have been called off because of police concerns about public safety.

Kilmarnock said in a statement that it would meet police to assess the possibility of the tie being played on 12 January.

"Despite the pitch being in a playable condition, surrounding roads and pavements have been deemed a risk to spectators," the club said.

"With ongoing low temperatures forecast and the possibility of further snowfalls, the decision has been taken to postpone the match at an early date in order to reduce inconvenience to supporters of both clubs."

The Scottish Football League has postponed Saturday's matches at Cowdenbeath, Berwick Rangers and East Stirlingshire, and a pitch inspection is planned on Friday at 1130 GMT at Balmoor for Peterhead's game with Clyde.

Unless there is a surprise thaw, it will be the third week in a row that Scottish football has been almost wiped out by the wintry weather.

With Scottish football being hit hard during the coldest winter for 25 years, lower league clubs are to share £1.5m to help ease the financial strain caused by the continued calls-offs.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith said: "I must emphasise that this is a discretionary payment and is made on a one-off basis taking account of the financial position this year."

Clubs in the South and East of Scotland league will receive £7,500 each, with senior sides getting more.

Meanwhile, Ayr's Monday race meeting has also been cancelled.

Active Nation Scottish Cup fixtures

Saturday 9 January

Aberdeen v Hearts
Albion Rovers v Stirling Albion OFF
Ayr United v Brechin City OFF
Dunfermline Athletic v Stenhousemuir
Edinburgh City v Montrose OFF
Forfar Athletic v St Johnstone OFF
Hibernian v Irvine Meadow
Inverness CT v Motherwell OFF
Kilmarnock v Falkirk OFF
Livingston v Dundee OFF
Morton v Celtic OFF
Partick Thistle v Dundee United
Raith Rovers v Airdrie Utd OFF
Ross County v Inverurie Locos OFF
St Mirren v Alloa Athletic

Sunday 10 January

Hamilton Accies v Rangers

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see also
Freeze wipes out Scottish League
08 Jan 10 |  Scottish League
Chick Young's view
06 Jan 10 |  Football
Only two Scots games beat freeze
02 Jan 10 |  Scottish League
Big chill decimates Scottish card
26 Dec 09 |  Scottish League
Juniors Meadow drawn away to Hibs
01 Dec 09 |  Scottish Cups
Meadow set for pastures new
08 Jan 10 |  Scottish Cups

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