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Caley Thistle's Terry Butcher critical of SPL call-off

Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher
Butcher thinks the SPL should have taken more time to make a decision

Terry Butcher believes the Scottish Premier League has been hasty in postponing his side's Saturday fixture against Dundee United.

All this weekend's SPL games have been called off because of fears about fans travelling in the ice and snow.

But the Inverness Caledonian Thistle boss thinks his team's match against United could have gone ahead.

"The A9 is fine and the forecast for us is a positive forecast," said a "bitterly disappointed" Butcher.

"So, for us, there is no reason why the game should be called off.

"As far as we are concerned, the pitch would have been absolutely perfect on Saturday."

This time last year, we were being accused of not making the decision early enough

Scottish Premier League secretary Iain Blair

And Butcher has suggested that the SPL should pay his club compensation for having switched on their undersoil heating.

"If we had known that there was a chance of the game going off, we wouldn't have put the heating on," Butcher told BBC Scotland.

"Five or six thousand pounds to us is a hell of a lot of money."

Caley Thistle extended their unbeaten run to four games on Saturday after braving the weather to reach Celtic Park, where they battled against the odds to secure a 2-2 draw.

"We travelled down to Celtic Park last weekend in worse conditions than supporters will travel up to our game," said Butcher.

"Sometimes you want your governing body to be proactive and they have been proactive, but nobody at the club was notified about this until a press man called."

SPL secretary Iain Blair, whose counterparts at the Scottish Football League have delayed their decision until Thursday afternoon, could understand Butcher's frustration.

However, he said: "This time last year, we were being accused of not making the decision early enough.

"The reality is that, in terms of weekend fixtures, there are significant activities that get set in train on a Thursday morning and which really, if we are going to be making a decision not to do so, let's make the decision sooner rather than later.

"It's coincidental, but most of our games involve significant travel and most of that travel is up and down hills.

"Even the local game we have, if it is a local game, the Motherwell-Kilmarnock game, relies on the good folk of Ayrshire getting over Fenwick Moor and all the indications are that the roads are not going to be conducive to that kind of travel on Saturday and the areas around Fir Park are not going to be any better.

"To be encouraging fans and players and officials to be travelling about the Highlands and the Grampians in the weather that is being forecast for this weekend and, indeed, is being forecast for early next week just appeared unreasonable."

The decision was welcomed by Butcher's counterpart at St Johnstone.

"I think it's sensible in the circumstances to have made this decision so early," said Derek McInnes.

"We shouldn't be asking fans to travel in these conditions and, from a playing point of view, it allows me to make plans for the rest of the week with regards to keeping the players training at various locations."

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see also
Scottish sport hit by icy weather
03 Dec 10 |  Scottish Premier
Weather wipes out Scottish card
29 Nov 10 |  Scottish League
Remaining cup tie falls to snow
27 Nov 10 |  Scottish Cups

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