RAITH Rovers and their supporters were left frustrated, bemused and out of pocket on Tuesday night after their match in Dumbarton was subject to a controversial late call-off.
Any doubts over the first division fixture taking place appeared to have been erased when the Bet Butler Stadium pitch passed a 4.00 p.m inspection carried out by local grade one official Barry Cook.
Following the news the Raith squad met for a pre-match meal, while the Supporters Club bus set off from Kirkcaldy. Scores of fans were also travelling by car.
However, those journeys came to an abrupt end around 6.30 p.m - an hour and 15 minutes before kick-off - when it emerged that the match referee, Bobby Madden, had called the match off due to a frozen pitch.
Raith chief executive Eric Drysdale was left seething and revealed he has made his feelings known to head of referee administration at the SFA, Drew Herbertson.
“It’s another own goal for Scottish football,” Drysdale told the Press. “We have been assured by the SFA that referees have guidlines to apply when testing a pitch.
“I cannot understand why two grade one referees would come to the opposite decision.
“There was no change in the condition of the pitch between the two inspections.
“I’m very disappointed for the team and our supporters.”
Drysdale’s own opinion was that the match should have gone ahead.
“Had it been Stark’s Park, I would not have called for a pitch inspection,” he said. In my view, Barry Cook got it right, and the match could have gone ahead.
“The match referee is perfectly entitled to call it off, but you have to question why his decision is different from an equally qualified colleague.”
Drysdale revealed the late postponement would cost the club close to £1000 in expenses, while the supporters bus also cost fans a total of £350.
“As to who will compensate us - the answer is nobody,” Drysdale explained. “A few years ago we suffered a similar late call-off against Brechin and we tried at that point to get compensation but our pleas fell on deaf ears.
“We tried to propose that a compensation fund should be set up for these circumstances but there was no support for that proposal.
“Basically we are left to carry the cost and the supporters are left to carry the cost.
“At a time when when it’s hard enough trying to get people through the gate, it’s very disappointing that we’re left with this kind of situation.”
A third attempt to get the fixture played will be made on Wednesday, March 27.