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Falkirk apologise to St Johnstone fans over late postponement

Falkirk's managing director George Craig apologised to St Johnstone fans after their SPL encounter was called off just 80 minutes before kick-off. SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster is set to launch an investigation into why the undersoil heating at the Falkirk Stadium failed and why the game was not called off after local referee Stephen Finnie staged an 11am inspection.

Match referee Stevie O'Reilly arrived after 1pm and after looking at the pitch ruled that four frozen strips of turf would prevent the match going ahead, although both teams then trained on the surface.

More than 1500 Saints fans were en route to the game when they heard the news and Craig said: "I know how desperately disappointed the St Johnstone fans are, as are ours.

"St Johnstone had identified this fixture as a real special occasion and so I apologise to all their fans.

"They will have had their whole day planned and they were travelling down through difficult conditions.

"I know they would have been wanting me to be doing everything that I could to get the game on rather than coming in and saying 'we won't bother'.

"My job was to come in here early in the morning and do as much as I could to get the game on and I did that.

"To be fair, the local referee was happy generally with the state of the pitch and he gave us a degree of comfort.

"If we thought it was going to be perfect we would have come in at our normal time and not seven o'clock in the morning.

"I couldn't have done any more and there was nothing more that Falkirk could do. So I hope the St Johnstone fans will give us that, we actually worked hard. Having said that I do apologise most sincerely to them."

O'Reilly claimed he was simply not prepared to take a chance on the game going ahead.

"It would have been great to play the game because we have all travelled through some awkward conditions to get here," he said.

"The club had four hours to work on it from 11am to 3pm but unfortunately when we turned up at 10 past one it was clear from just walking on the pitch with our shoes that there were so many places that were bone-hard.

"Like we always say in these circumstances, our primary concern is the players taking part in the game.

"If a player had run from a soft surface to a hard surface, slipped and cracked his head I would be feeling terrible and so it's just not possible to put the game on, regardless of how much you want it to go on."

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