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Confusion as to 'weather or not' Thurso game should have gone ahead


By Matt Leslie


Thurso boss Stevie Reid was frustrated at the decision to call off the Vikings' home match against Inverness Athletic. Picture: James Gunn
Thurso boss Stevie Reid was frustrated at the decision to call off the Vikings' home match against Inverness Athletic. Picture: James Gunn

Confusion has broken out over who made the call to postpone Thurso's North Caledonian Cup tie against Inverness Athletic on Saturday.

As with all fixtures due to be played in league and cup, the Vikings' match was called off following concerns about Storm Ciara hitting the Highlands over the weekend.

With the threat of high winds, the usual protocol of waiting until the day of the match was set aside as a pre-emptive postponement was issued.

However, the storm did not wreak the predicted devastation upon Thurso with the town enjoying a breezy day and nothing more.

Bear Scotland, which oversees traffic and travel conditions across Scotland, said that while yellow warnings were put in place, there were no road or bridge closures along the A9 between Inverness and Thurso on the day the game was due to be played.

Thurso were due to have a free Saturday this weekend but will attempt to play the rearranged cup tie at their temporary Naver home.

Thurso manager Stevie Reid expressed his frustration at the decision to call off the tie on its original date.

He said: "I'm annoyed – to say I was not best pleased would be an understatement.

"It wasn't us that pushed for the game to be called off but Inverness Athletic were doing just that.

"Usually it's the home team that decides if a pitch is playable or not. I can only guess why Inverness were pushing for a call-off.

"The weather in Thurso on the day was okay. There was a little breeze, but nothing that would have got a match to be abandoned. We held a training session instead and had no problems.

"I suspect some people were too quick to buy into the hype that surrounded the storm and jumped the gun."

I would have been more inclined to have waited until the Saturday morning before making a decision.

North Caledonian League president Iain Whitehead echoed Reid's sentiments about the hype surrounding Storm Ciara.

He said: "I think all the build-up about the storm on the news may have played a part in all the North Caledonian games being called off – not just Thurso v Inverness Athletic.

"Golspie and St Duthus, who were due to play against one another, were the first to call off their fixture and the rest of the postponements appear to have snowballed from that.

"With regard to the match at Thurso, I would have been more inclined to have waited until the Saturday morning before making a decision but it's the North Caledonian League committee who decide."

A member of the committee is North Caledonian League secretary Sandy Stephen, who is also the chairman of Thurso's opponents, Inverness Athletic.

Mr Stephen firmly rejected Stevie Reid's claims of Athletic pushing for a call-off by themselves, saying that both clubs took part in the decision to postpone to match.

He said: "The decision to postpone the fixture was taken with both clubs.

"Stevie is annoyed about not being able to play the game but I am too as we at Inverness wanted to play as well. However, we consulted with a member of Thurso's committee who said the weather could ensure that the game might not go ahead."

When asked who on Thurso Football Club's committee did Inverness Athletic consult with, Mr Stephen replied: "I'm not going to be giving out names."

Mr Stephen went on to say: "There are also travel considerations to consider when making a decision like this.

"It costs us £500 to put on transport for the team to an away fixture, which is quite a lot for a North Caledonian League club. We would have lost money had we turned up and the pitch was not playable."

When asked about Reid's claim that the weather in Thurso was not bad enough to force a call-off and of Bear Scotland's statement of no road closures on the A9 to stop Athletic getting to Thurso and back on the day, Mr Stephen replied: "That's all well and good in hindsight but you're trying to get a story out of nothing."

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