Rangers v Celtic: Mark Warburton fears over Hampden pitch

Rangers and Peterhead line up at Hampden
Rangers defeated Peterhead 4-0 to lift the Petrofac Training Cup

Rangers manager Mark Warburton fears Hampden Park's new pitch will not have time to bed in before his side's Scottish Cup semi-final with Celtic.

The present surface was described as "dangerous" by Peterhead boss Jim McInally after his side's 4-0 Petrofac Training Cup final loss to Rangers.

New turf will be put down before this weekend's two semi-finals.

"You've got to question how a new pitch can bed down in such a short time," said Warburton.

"My concern is if we have any adverse weather on the Thursday and Friday then have Hibs and Dundee United playing on it on Saturday before we play Celtic on Sunday.

"I'm not sure how you bed in a new pitch in three days' time.

"I understand there's problems and you have to find a solution as swiftly as possible, but it is surprising."

Rangers manager Mark Warburton tests the Hampden Park
Mark Warburton's Rangers face Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final next weekend

Warburton had already expressed concerns about the pitch before kick-off and captain Lee Wallace and midfielder Harry Forrester picked up injuries against Peterhead.

McInally's comments came after four of his players picked up injuries in the final.

Hampden Park Ltd, which operates the venue, has confirmed it will put down new turf on Monday.

It comes only five weeks after the pitch was last re-laid - and will be the fifth patch-up job in seven years - after Hampden's pitch suppliers admitted the grass had failed to bed in properly.

Who's responsible for the Hampden pitch?
League Two outfit Queen's Park own Hampden Park, and play their home fixtures there as part of an original lease agreement that expires in 2020.Queen's Park lease the stadium to the SFA, which assigns running the stadium to Hampden Park Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the SFA.
HPL board members include SFA office-bearers Stewart Regan, Alan McRae & Andrew McKinlay.The current pitch was only relaid in early March, ahead of the League Cup final on 13 March

"How much does it cost to relay the pitch?" asked Warburton. "With the amount of times it is being done, should you not go for the more expensive option in the beginning which proved to be the cheaper option in the long run?"

McInally, who was disappointed with his team's performance against Rangers, said: "The ground is so hard, there is a skim on top of it.

"If you soak it then it becomes a bit dangerous. I don't think it could be any worse, no matter what they do to it, but I'm no grass expert.

"Three of our players picked up groin injuries. Ryan Strachan has not missed a game all season but had to come off with a calf strain."

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