Feb 24 2011 By Gordon Parks
Jags daft Alastair MacGregor with his sons Jamie, left, and Ewan, outside Firhill after Saturday's late postponement. The trio had travelled from their home in Oban to watch their team - a journey which cost them £90 in fuel - but all for nothing.
PARTICK THISTLE are seeking compensation from the SFA and SFL after their weekend clash with Falkirk was called off less than an hour before kick-off.
The Jags also want the game's rulers to review pitch inspection procedures as Scottish football continues to suffer a spate of last-minute postponements.
It's the second time this year the two clubs have been hit with a late call-off after the Bairns' pitch was ruled unsafe an hour before a league game in January.
But Thistle acting chairman David Beattie believes questions need to be asked over procedures after his cash-strapped club were hit in the pocket despite the Firhill surface being given the go-ahead on Saturday morning.
He said: "We have sent a letter to the SFA and SFL to put across the facts as we saw them on Saturday.
"We are making a request for compensation and asking them to review their processes.
"The pitch had passed an inspection at 11am and was then called off at 2pm but the weather hadn't changed at all so there has to be a question mark over the process. I can only assume it was down to personal judgment.
"I'm not saying either referee was wrong, what I am saying is there was a mistake somewhere along the line. My argument is about who makes the decision and when it is made.
"We have a referee arriving in the morning and putting it on and the match referee taking a different view three hours later.
"Now we are left to work out the financial implications for our club.
"We had all the stewards at the stadium as well as corporate hospitality being served at 2pm and we could hardly turn them away. There weremorethan100peoplebeingserved a three-course meal. Everybody was there and everybody needs paid.
"Now we have to ask if we invite them back, as they never got to see a game, or do we need to recompense them? All of that is under review."
Beattie believes the supporters are being short-changed and called for earlier decisions and consistency between referees who are being asked to make the decisions.
He said: "It's the fans who suffer the most.
"The situation was the same at Falkirk a few weeks ago when fans turned up at the game and incurred costs only to have their day wasted.
"It happened again on Saturday and the financial cost of that is taken on by the home club as the away team doesn't receive any money. So the host team suffers financially.
"But the inconvenience to fans is huge and it's being driven by the referees and the state of the pitch.
"It's the official's responsibility to make a judgment as to whether the pitch is safe to play on.
"At the moment the match referee has the final say and the problem with that is he isn't always the one who arrives at 11am to judge the pitch."
Firhill has taken a pounding this season as rugby side Glasgow Warriors continue to base themselves there but Beattie doesn't believe that was a factor in Saturday's fiasco.
He said: "It does have an affect and it would be foolish to say otherwise but it wasn't the issue at the weekend.
"Our groundsman is outstanding and our pitch stands up against most other pitches in the SFL if not the SPL."