0 Hampden staff pitch in ahead of final

The groundstaff at Hampden have wasted no time in starting to relay a new pitch at the National Stadium for Sunday's Scottish League Cup final between Celtic and Dundee United.

Head groundsman Stephen Bache and his team sat in small trucks with their engines running in amongst mountains of sand for the end of Saturday's League 2 game between Queen's Park and East Fife and had the goalposts removed before the players trooped off.

The surface, which was only put down last November following the hosting of the Commonwealth Games, was heavily criticised when the League Cup semi-finals were played 5 weeks ago. Celtic manager Ronny Deila said the surface was "way below the standard we should play on" and the SPFL sent in a formal complaint over what they described as a 'highly unsatisfactory' pitch.

Hampden Park Limited, who manage the stadium, vowed to put in a new pitch for this weekend's showdown despite having only an eight-day window to do so and they started on it before Gus MacPherson's side could celebrate Saturday's 1-0 success.

After the posts were taken away work to remove the existing surface began on Saturday night and continued on Sunday with MacPherson saying: "We have played 3 games here since the semi-finals and the pitch has been better every time however it is not perfect. You could see how keen people were to get working on it as they had the goals down whilst I was still shaking hands with players coming off."

Queen's who only returned to their home in January after a 13 month stay at Airdrie to facilitate the Commonwealth Games still have 3 home matches to play in their quest to land the League 2 title.

They will get a feel for the new surface when they host fellow title rivals Albion Rovers on March 21 with Hampden then hosting Gordon Strachan's Scotland side in a friendly against Northern Ireland on March 25 and then Euro 2016 qualified with Gibraltar 4 days later.

For the full Herald Scotland article, click here.

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