McGhee adamant clubs should be al­lowed to refuse to play on plas­tic

The Scotsman - - Sport - gaVIN McCaF­FErty

Aberdeen man­ager Mark McGhee be­lieves clubs should refuse to play on ar­ti­fi­cial sur­faces as he blamed Al­loa’s recre­ation Park pitch for Fraser Fyvie’s se­ri­ous knee in­jury.

The 17-year-old looks cer­tain to miss the rest of the sea­son af­ter suf­fer­ing cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment dam­age dur­ing Aberdeen’s 3-0 Co-op­er­a­tive In­surance Cup win at Al­loa on Tues­day.

McGhee blamed the ar­ti­fi­cial pitch for the in­jury and three oth­ers to his play­ers, which proved to be mi­nor, and feels the sur­face is not con­ducive to com­pet­i­tive foot­ball.

“I think it was avoid­able,” said McGhee, whose Cly­des­dale bank Premier League lead­ers host Kil­marnock to­day. “He wouldn’t have had that in­jury if he hadn’t played on that pitch and we shouldn’t be asked to play on it.

“This is my per­sonal view, we are still es­tab­lish­ing how we feel as a club, but play­ers like Fraser who play with such power, when they change di­rec­tion it’s very dif­fi­cult to do that on that sur­face.

“They are great sur­faces for train­ing pur­poses, pass­ing the ball, but for dy­namic move­ment it’s a dan­ger­ous sur­face. When we train at the Aberdeen vil­lage, it’s a great fa­cil­ity, but we still have play­ers who have had pre­vi­ous in­juries which pre­vent them from train­ing.

“I left Peter Pawlett out the other night - he wasn’t in­jured, he sim­ply can’t play on that sur­face. We were hand­i­capped by not be­ing able to play these play­ers on that sur­face.”

Ar­ti­fi­cial sur­faces are banned in the SPL but sev­eral other clubs in the Scot­tish Foot­ball League, such as Sten­house­muir and Air­drie, also play on ar­ti­fi­cial sur­faces. McGhee wants his club to protest to the au­thor­i­ties if they are drawn away against such a side in the fu­ture.

He con­tin­ued: “What I’m go­ing to ad­vo­cate, and this is my own per­sonal po­si­tion, is that we should con­tact the au­thor­i­ties and protest that we don’t think we should be asked to play on these pitches. If nec­es­sary, seek sup­port from other clubs and take it for­ward that way.”

Me­hdi Taouil hopes to play a cen­tral role in Mixu Paate­lainen’s new-look Kil­marnock side af­ter re­turn­ing from in­jury in midweek. The Moroc­can came off the bench for the last 20 min­utes of the 6-2 Co-op­er­a­tive In­surance Cup tri­umph over Air­drie, his first ap­pear­ance since sum­mer her­nia surgery..

“I played be­hind the two strik­ers in the num­ber 10 po­si­tion,” Taouil said.

“It is a po­si­tion I love to play in. I much, much pre­fer play­ing in a cen­tral po­si­tion.

“For the team I used to play in wider ar­eas, it was for the team so I was do­ing it but I re­ally love to play in a cen­tral po­si­tion. He (Paate­lainen) said that is one of the po­si­tions he is us­ing me in this sea­son and I am happy with that.

“I watched the first two games and I’m happy to see the team is re­ally try­ing to pass the ball. We did not win the games but you saw on Wed­nes­day that we can score a lot of goals.

“For me that is the way to play foot­ball. ev­ery­body is en­joy­ing work­ing with Mixu.”

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