Writer: Arab Jacques
Date:Saturday January 13 2007
It was looking likely that Dundee United would have another weekend off from competitive action, after this afternoon's match against Rangers was almost called off.
There were concerns for the state of the Ibrox pitch on Friday night, after torrential rain had almost turned it into a mud bath and an 8:30am pitch inspection was scheduled for this morning.
The Scottish Cup clash between Dundee United and Saint Mirren was postponed by the SFA last weekend, after Craig Levein lost most of his squad through illness and injury.
United were unable to field enough players for the Cup clash, with at least 9 players reported to be suffering from the flu, a further 3 injured, 3 away on loan and the entire youth team away training in Cyprus.
This time it was the weather was almost the cause of the postponement, but the rain held off over Friday night and the match will go ahead as scheduled after referee Craig MacKay decided the pitch was still playable.
The Dundee United official website was one of the first to break the news first thing this morning, when it announced on the site - "We have been advised that Ibrox has passed the pitch inspection and the game this afternoon goes ahead."
A postponement would have meant that Dundee United wouldn`t have played competitive football since the 5-1 SPL defeat by Falkirk on New Years day.
Craig Levein might have been happy if the game had been called off, because it would have given his squad a few more days to recover from the flu before the re-scheduled 3rd Round Scottish Cup match against St Mirren on Tuesday night.
However, Levein would no doubt be concerned by the lack of competitive action over the last few weeks, since Dundee United have already loaned out several players this season - including defender Lee Wilkie - because Levein wants them to get more competitive football under their belts, before he considers using them in the United 1st team on a more regular basis.
The match will be Walter Smith's first match incharge of Rangers after re-joining Ibrox for his 2nd spell as manager, along with Scotland coaching assistant Ally McCoist.
Dundee United's captain Barry Robson and defender Lee Mair will miss the Rangers match through suspension, with Christian Kalvenes(knee) and Steven Robb(back) also ruled out earlier in the week.
Although, new signings Morgaro Gomis, Jon Daly and defender Sean Dillon are expected to play some part in the match, as is Noel Hunt who has only just recovered from an ankle injury that had kept him out for the last 4 weeks.
However, the Saint Mirren versus Motherwell SPL match didnt beat the weather and was called-off after a 10am inspection this morning.
Date:Saturday January 13 2007
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