Livingston Football Club has opened an inquiry today after their undersoil heating failed to take effect, despite being switched on for four days. Referee Kenny Clark arrived at the ground two hours before kick-off and called off the tie against Hearts off.
Livingston claimed their undersoil heating had been left on since Wednesday but it’s alleged that it was turned off on Saturday night, and when officials arrived on Sunday morning, they realised that there may be a problem.
A club insider told www.liviultras.com on Sunday morning that the match was in doubt, stating that the goalmouth closest to the South Stand was frozen.
Hearts team bus had already left for Livingston and John Robertson was disappointed that the game did not go ahead.
Livi manager Richard Gough was frustrated that the heating had not penetrated all the way to the top of the pitch after a weekend in which temperatures plummeted, but admitted that he had no choice but to go with the experience of Clark, despite having a few heated words with the official.
Livingston are now rooted to the foot of the table without kicking a ball at the weekend and will be there over Christmas.
"I had no idea the game was even in danger until Kenny Clark asked to see me at 1pm," said Gough.
"I was very surprised because with undersoil heating I thought we would be all right.
"But Kenny is an experienced official and, if he says it was unplayable, then I am not going to force the issue."
Clark insisted he had no option but to call the match off. He said: "The top end of the pitch was frozen. The undersoil heating had not been able to make it up to the top crust.
"I tried running on it but I was slipping and I don't run as fast as the players.
"It would have been dangerous to the goalkeepers in particular but the players' safety was the first priority."