Raith Rovers chief executive Eric Drysdale has said his heart goes out to supporters after today’s much-anticipated Scottish Cup quarter-final tie away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle was postponed.
Heavy overnight rain created concern over the safety of the playing surface at the Caledonian Stadium and after an early morning pitch inspection, match referee Willie Collum called the game off at around 9.35 a.m.
The tie has been rescheduled for Tuesday night at 7.45 p.m.
The postponement is a bitter disappointment for the 750 Rovers fans expected travel to the Highlands, with several hundred already on trains and buses bound for Inverness, and a good number booked into hotels for the weekend.
Drysdale said: “There’s been a fantastic response from supporters to this tie and I feel heart-sorry for them.
“It’s dreadful when they’re spending considerable sums of money to go up there and made a weekend of it all for the sake of their loyalty to Raith Rovers.
“Unfortunately, Mother Nature has shown that it’s in charge and there’s nothing we can do about it.
“Our supporters’ loyalty is greatly appreciated by everybody at the club and hopefully we can still go back up there on Tuesday and get a result.”
Drysdale refused to blame the home club for the shock postponement, adding: “I don’t think any more could’ve been done.
“I spoke with Jim Faulkner, the Inverness secretary, yesterday afternoon and at that point there was no rain, it was just windy, but there has been heavy rain overnight, and the forecast is more more rain today.
“One area of the pitch was causing particular concern and while it may have been possible for the referee to delay his decision while the pitch was worked on, a decision was taken sooner rather than later to avoid further inconvenience for supporters as much as possible.”
Both the club and its supporters have been left out of pocket by the cancellation, and while match tickets will still be valid for Tuesday, any Raith fans unable to make the rescheduled tie will be able to get refunds.
“Any money paid to the club will be refunded and we are in dialogue with the coach company to see what can be organised on a more limited basis for Tuesday,” Drysdale added.
“The club has incurred substantial costs in overnight accommodation for the team and subsided coach travel and the midweek gate is going to be considerably smaller so we’ll lose out there as well.”
Drysdale also explained that the club was left with no choice over the midweek rescheduled date.
“These things are all organised in advance as soon as draw is made,” he said.
“A switch to another Saturday is not an option at this stage of the cup for two full-time teams.”
Raith manager Grant Murray described the postponement as “a big disappointment”.
After travelling up on Friday for an overnight stay, his team will now play the rescheduled match after a long bus journey on Tuesday.
“It’s certainly a big disappointment,” he said. “It’s not for me to say whether the game should’ve gone ahead.
“A fair bit of rain fell on the pitch - and it was heavy in parts - and the referee has called it as he seen it.
“There’s a lot more to it that just waiting to see if it improves. It’s difficult with the two clubs being so far apart and a lot of supporters coming up.
“A lot of preparation has gone into getting ready for a Saturday game at 3.00 p.m. A midweek game will be slightly different, especially for us being the travelling team, but we’ve got to treat it the same.”