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Half-time call off at Tannadice

Sasa Papac challenges United's Jennison Myrie-Williams at rain-soaked Tannadice
Players were beginning to struggle against the elements at Tannadice

Sunday's match at Tannadice between Dundee United and Rangers in the Scottish Premier League was abandoned at half-time because of heavy rain.

Rangers had been leading through Steven Davis's 29th-minute strike.

But referee Mike Tumilty informed Rangers boss Walter Smith and United's Craig Levein about his concerns over surface water and stopped the game.

"Towards half-time, it became nearly impossible and I did not want the game to become farcical," said Tumilty.

No date has yet been agreed for the re-arranged match.

The abandonment leaves Rangers third in the Scottish Premier League, four points adrift of leaders Celtic and one behind Hibernian, while United missed out on the chance of going above fourth-placed Motherwell.

But both managers agreed that the decision to stop the match was correct after Tumilty raised concerns over safety during the half-time interval.

Obviously we're disappointed the game got called off, but as far as we're concerned, the referee's decision is one I think is correct and was a difficult one for him to make

Rangers manager Walter Smith

"There was a lot of water lying on the pitch and, as the first half went on, the water started to lie, particularly at the goalmouth," said Tumilty.

"The safety of the players could have become a real risk.

"I saw Allan McGregor drop the ball and you could have a whole melee of players in there with boots flying.

"Players were struggling to keep on their feet, so I was concerned for their safety.

"I felt, if we could get through to half-time and evaluate the situation, but the rain was getting heavier and, from my point of view, with that amount of water on the pitch and the incidents towards the end of the first-half, I just didn't think we could get back on.

"We went out and checked it during the half-time interval and it really wasn't any better."

Tumilty informed the managers at half-time, and while both were disappointed, they accepted the decision.

United manager Levein said: "The rain wasn't going off. If it had stopped, there was maybe a chance that we could have continued.

"We're gutted, because it's the best we've played for so long.

"The lads were devastated when I told them it was off, as they felt they had a chance of getting back into the game.

"I've got a degree of sympathy for Mike. At the start of the game, it was playable, but the rain has been so incessant throughout the game that he had no choice."

Smith was disappointed to be denied a possible victory but agreed that the referee had little choice.

"Obviously we're disappointed the game got called off, but as far as we're concerned, the referee's decision is one I think is correct and was a difficult one for him to make," said the Rangers manager.

"There was water starting to lie at the bottom end of the pitch and he felt it could be a danger to the players and I don't think anybody can argue with him there.

"Obviously, we were disappointed - so was the referee - I felt he had an excellent game today in difficult circumstances.

"We're obviously delighted we got through it without any injuries, but the disappointment from my own point of view is that we went one up and we find ourselves in a situation where the game gets abandoned."

Allan McGregor, David Weir, Davis, Kris Boyd, Steven Naismith and Kenny Miller had all been drafted back into the Rangers side after the midweek Co-operative Insurance Cup win over Dundee.

United manager Levein brought in Nicky Weaver, Darren Dods, Craig Conway, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Damian Casalinuovo and Paul Dixon after their defeat by St Johnstone, but Andy Webster was dropped as a result of the terms of his loan deal from the Ibrox club.

Dixon and Mihael Kovacevic both had efforts that struck the Rangers crossbar during an exciting first half.

However, Davis broke the stalemate on the half hour when Sasa Papac flighted in a high ball and the Irishman beat the offside trap to coolly slot past Weaver.

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Scottish Premier results

31 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Celtic 3-0 Kilmarnock R
Hibernian 2-0 Aberdeen R
Motherwell 1-0 Hearts R
St Johnstone 3-1 Falkirk R
St Mirren 0-2 Hamilton R

Scottish Premier table snapshot

As it stood on 31 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Celtic 10 12 23
2 Hibernian 10 8 20
3 Rangers 9 9 19
4 Motherwell 10 3 17
5 Dundee Utd 9 5 16
6 St Mirren 10 -2 12
7 Aberdeen 10 -2 11
8 Hearts 10 -4 9
9 Kilmarnock 10 -4 9
10 St Johnstone 10 -5 9
11 Hamilton 10 -9 8
12 Falkirk 10 -11 4

see also
SPL as it happened
01 Nov 09 |  Scottish Premier


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