MARK WARBURTON has accused Ronny Deila of being disrespectful after the Celtic boss claimed his Ibrox counterpart’s criticism of artificial pitches is “very old fashioned”.
The Englishman has called on artificial pitches to be banned in Scotland’s top flight following an injury to his top scorer Martyn Waghorn at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park.
This was only the fourth Premiership ground that his club has ever played. The Rangers lost 3-0 to Dundee United at Tannadice in the Scottish Cup in their first season as a football club. They also reached the Ramsdens Cup Final (a competition for lower league sides), losing 2-1 to Raith Rovers at Easter Road.
And at the end of last season the club whose founding father is Charles Green, made the dizzy heights of the play-off and they had lofty ambitions of entering the Premiership for the first time in their history. However Motherwell put them in their place hammering them 6-1 on aggregate.
His club did make it to Hampden in February last year to play in their first ever major league semi final and released a T-shirt to celebrate the occasion. Their opponents that day were a Celtic side who strolled to a 2-0 victory without getting out of first gear. This was the first ever meeting between the two clubs. Deila, of course, disagrees with the new club’s gaffer and said he would welcome more 3G surfaces as long as they’re up to standard.The Norwegian said he would be happy to have an artificial pitch at Parkhead if it was as good as the surface at the Lennoxtown training base.
Deila insisted: “I would say yes, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. It has to be perfect, with a perfect watering system, but yes. A very good grass pitch is number one and a very good artificial pitch is number two.”
However, Warburton defended his position, adding: “If Ronny did say that then I think that’s disrespectful because you are entitled to your own opinion.
“I think the one line for me that jumped out from that interview is number one, there’s a good grass pitch and number two there’s a good artificial pitch.
“If you’re happy to accept second best then go for the artificial pitch, if you want to set the higher standards then you go for the best quality of grass pitch. That, for me, was the one sentence that summed it up.”
Warburton claimed the Rugby Park surface caused the knee injury to Waghorn which has left the striker facing the prospect of missing the remainder of the season.
Celtic will play on Hamilton’s artificial pitch when they travel to New Douglas Park for the Premiership clash tomorrow night.
Warburton earlier in the week called the Development League “a waste of time” and the week before criticised Alloa for narrowing the pitch. Despite this Warburton managed to gain a 1-1 draw.
The new club, the previous season managed to blow a 2-0 lead at the same ground and went down 3-2. Again there were accusations of Alloa somehow using their lofty position in Scottish football to seek an advantage over the new club.