Hearts boss Robbie Neilson in praise for referee Madden as crunch clash is abandoned

Rangers and Hearts players battle against the elements before Friday night's game was eventually abandoned
Rangers and Hearts players battle against the elements before Friday night's game was eventually abandoned

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson believes Bobby Madden made the right decision in calling off their Ibrox clash with Rangers.

The top-of-the-table Scottish Championship fixture lasted just 25 minutes before the referee decided the snow-bound pitch was no longer safe.

And Neilson says the official timed it just right as he feared one of his players could have suffered a career-ending injury if the “shambolic” game had gone on.

He said: “I think Bobby made the right call to start the match – you never know with snow as it can break up and melt and we could have had a decent game.

“But tonight it just turned to ice. It was soft underneath and then hard on the top and it becomes a shambles.

“Players were missing the ball and others were falling over it, but the real worry is that someone gets injured.

“There are young guys there who have got 15 years ahead of them in the game. If they had kept the game going, it could have ruined a career.

“I think the ref made the right decision in the end. I feel we had to give it a go, we took the chance and it didn’t work out.”

Hundreds of home supporters protested both before and after the match outside Ibrox’s front door as they reacted with fury to the news that the cash-strapped Gers board is considering mortgaging off the stadium as part of a £10million loan deal with Mike Ashley.

The Light Blues faithful also chanted “sack the board” throughout the match and they may just get their way after Dave King announced he is to call a general meeting seeking to clear our current directors David Somers, James Easdale, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach.

But McDowall is staying out of the on-going battle for control.

He said: “I was on the park at 7pm for our warm-up so I don’t know what was going on outside. I know what you’re talking about but I didn’t hear it.

“This isn’t new - we’ve had three and a half years of this but I don’t know exactly what happened tonight.”

Rangers announced that tickets for the cancelled clash would still be valid for the re-arranged fixture when a date is set, a move backed by Neilson.

He said: “I don’t know what the rules are but I think they should get in for nothing. I certainly hope so.”