EXCLUSIVE: Peterhead have Rangers fixture covered ahead of snow warning

PETERHEAD are going all out to ensure their Irn-Bru Third Division clash with Rangers goes ahead – after a severe weather warning was issued for the north-east.

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Rangers boss Ally McCoist will not fancy a midweek trip to Peterhead
Rangers boss Ally McCoist will not fancy a midweek trip to Peterhead

The Met Office have forecast blizzard conditions for the Grampian area this weekend and are expecting disruption to travel due to up to 10 centimetres of snow falling. But Blue Toon chairman Roger Morrison is "90 per cent certain" the game at Balmoor on Sunday will be played due to a series of precautionary measures they have put in place.

Peterhead have borrowed pitch covers from SPL club Ross County to protect the playing surface ahead of a game that will be shown live on ESPN. And a 30-strong team of volunteers is poised to swing into action in the early hours of Sunday morning to ensure the match is played as planned.

Mr Morrison said: "I am 90 per cent certain the match will go ahead.

"We have had covers down all week and the pitch is looking good. When Rangers come to play you, it is important to make the most of the opportunity.

"We have a corporate tent and are catering for 300 spectators. We get no extra money because of the game being screened live on television, like we would if it was a Scottish Cup game, but we obviously make extra money from a full house.

"We normally get around 500 or 600 fans at our home games. We nearly filled our stadium, which has a 4,600 capacity, when Rangers came to play back in August. It gives us a real boost."

He added: "If this game is called off we are looking at rescheduling to a midweek date.

"That is a nightmare scenario for us so we are doing everything to make sure it goes ahead.

"We have a squad of 30 guys standing by and they will come out in the early hours of Sunday to make absolutely sure the pitch is playable."

Meanwhile, Ally McCoist will treat talk of Rangers joining the Blue Square Bet Premier League "with a pinch of salt", as the Football League poured cold water on the idea of a move to English football.

Conference chairman Brian Lee yesterday refused to rule out the possibility of Rangers joining his division. The issue is set to be discussed at a meeting of clubs on Monday.

McCoist said: "I take a lot of it with a pinch of salt because doors get closed in your face, other ones are half-open and other ones open up. But it's nice to see they're not slamming the door."

Rangers revealed last night they have now sold more than 38,000 season tickets – more than their last two campaigns as an SPL side.

And, despite their SFL3 status, they have the highest average attendance in Scotland, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle the only clubs in the UK drawing in bigger crowds.

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