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Hampden boss: Pitch will be improved

THE managing director of Hampden Park described the state of the Scottish national stadium’s under-fire playing surface yesterday as “regrettable.”

Celtic manager Ronny Deila criticised the pitch after his side’s 2-0 win over Rangers in their Scottish League Cup semi-final clash on Sunday.

The surface was only laid in November after Hampden had been converted back into a football venue following its use in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Celtic and Dundee United will return to Hampden on March 15 for the League Cup final and later in the month Scotland play Northern Ireland in a friendly before the Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar.

Peter Dallas, managing director of Hampden Park Ltd, insists work will be carried out to have the pitch ready for then.

He blamed “the excessive rainfall and freezing temperatures that have hindered the development of the pitch — an issue that has not been unique to the national stadium this winter — (and) also the timescale of restoration work undertaken since the Commonwealth Games.

“Preparing Hampden for the Commonwealth Games and returning the stadium for football has been a very detailed and in-depth operation.

“The new pitch was laid in November last year and we had worked closely with Glasgow 2014 to ensure the works started at the earliest opportunity.

Celtic boss Deila was unimpressed by the surface on Sunday. “We are a passing team and you had no chance to pass the ball on that pitch,” he said.

Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster described the pitch as “highly unsatisfactory” and has demanded an improvement ahead of the Scottish League Cup final.

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