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Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Monday, 10 March 2008

Accies ditch plastic pitch plans

Accies players celebrate yet another goal at New Douglas Park
Hamilton Academical are favourites for promotion

Hamilton have scrapped plans to lay a new artificial surface if they win promotion to the SPL next season.

The Accies, who lead Division One by five points, have played on a synthetic pitch since 2004 and were seeking special dispensation to keep the pitch.

However, club secretary Scott Struthers told BBC Sport they were not 100% convinced the SPL would grant approval.

"So we have decided to lay a grass pitch and will install undersoil heating at a later date," he said.

Dunfermline were forced to tear up their artificial surface when the SPL ruled against its continued use in 2005.

We have had good dialogue with the SPL and are appreciative of the advice given

Hamilton secretary
Scott Struthers

Accies were keen to continue using their artificial surface, after chairman Ronnie MacDonald suggested plastic pitches were better suited to Scotland's climate.

"With the way the weather is changing in Scotland, I think artificial pitches will be in vogue everywhere in 15 years," he said.

"To me, going back to grass seems like a step back because the advances with artificial pitches are just spectacular and we all know the lack of facilities in Scotland is pathetic."

A new 600-seater stand is being constructed that will bring New Douglas Park up to the SPL's stadium criteria.

Asked if Accies were disappointed, Struthers added: "We have had good dialogue with the SPL and are appreciative of the advice given."

Fewer than 2,000 spectators turned up to watch Hamilton beat Morton at the weekend.

However, MacDonald has no worries about the financial cost of competing in the top flight.

"We are carrying no debt, so, if we go up, we'll be in a very strong position," he continued.

"With the commercial infrastructure in place, gates are not as important as they are at other clubs.

"This stadium works seven days a week, not just one day a fortnight."




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