Wick call-off sends Linlithgow north on Monday

Colin Leiper, pictured during his Bo'ness days, was astonished the game at Wick last weekend even got close to going ahead

Colin Leiper, pictured during his Bo'ness days, was astonished the game at Wick last weekend even got close to going ahead

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Linlithgow Rose’s worst nightmare has come true after their William Hill Scottish Cup third-round tie tomorrow at Wick Academy was called off and rescheduled for Monday night.

The Junior outfit’s clash against the Highland League outfit was called off just 40 minutes before kick-off last weekend, leaving the club out of pocket to the tune of over £3000 after they had shelled out for overnight accommodation in nearby Brora.

At least this time around, the 3.30pm Harmsworth Park pitch inspection this afternoon delivered a definite verdict unlike last week, when the match was only cancelled after a third inspection, but the tie has been booked in for this coming Monday with a 7.45pm kick-off. If the pitch fails a Sunday inspection for that match, then it’ll be played on Wednesday.

The new date causes all manner of problems for Linlithgow, as many of their players will need to take a day off work to play. Some may not even get the chance to travel due to the short-notice of the rescheduling. It is understood that although Rose may struggle to raise a team for the match, they have no plans of forfeiting the tie.

Speaking yesterday before the postponement, Linlithgow defender Colin Leiper recalled last week’s “soul-destroying” trip to Wick and explained what a midweek match would mean for Rose.

“It was soul-destroying, especially in the manner it was done as well. To me, it just seemed ridiculous that the game was even deemed playable on the Friday never mind the Saturday,” he said.

“A pitch inspection already tells you that the game is in doubt. A second inspection tells you straight away that the game is not going to be on. If they are doing it just two hours later what difference is it really going to make?

“We arrived there and, as you do, across probably any level of football, the first thing you want to do is step out on the park and get your bearings. I was probably one of the first people to stand on the park and I said to myself ‘You know what, this game should never be on’. I stood on the grass and the water was coming up from under my feet and the further I got into the centre of the park it just got worse.

“The referee was literally throwing the ball away up in the air and it was just slapping off the grass, it wasn’t even bouncing. Wick’s players were surrounding the referee trying to get him to play the game. We all want to play football, but I’ve played Junior football since I was 17 or 18 and I’ve played on a lot of parks that could really go either way. There have been matches which have been called off for a lot less than that, it was 
absolutely shocking.”

Rose will face Queen’s Park or Forfar Athletic at Prestonfield if they can make it past their Highland League opponents, but thoughts of that match couldn’t be further from the minds of everyone involved with the club at the moment.

Leiper continued: “Most of the guys have had their quota of holidays for the year, certainly me. If I’m lucky enough to get the day off, it will be unpaid and that goes for a lot of the other guys. If we can’t get enough players to take days off in a midweek game, then we can’t field a team and that’s going to be a problem.

“We need to try and be focused on the game taking place on Saturday, but it’s hard not to think about possibilities if the game doesn’t go ahead. If anything it is probably an added incentive to go and win the game. I’d like to think last Saturday would spur the rest of the guys on to get through this one.

“Let’s just hope for the sake of Linlithgow and anybody that is looking to travel again that the game is on and we can stay in this cup rather than taking it to a midweek game.”