A BIZARRE situation saw Cowdenbeath’s big William Hill Scottish Cup-tie with Rangers postponed on Friday night by a referee’s inspection at 4.45pm, just three hours from kick-off.

The inspection was not called by Cowden, it came after a Rangers backroom official arrived at Central Park and had walked on the park and felt there was a couple of patches on the pitch he was concerned about.

He called the Rangers party on their way to the game and they then asked for advice from the SFA, who sent a Fife match official in to carry out an inspection as match whistler Craig Thomson was not expected until between 5pm and 6pm.

The ‘local’ official arrived and was happy with the vast majority of the surface which had been covered since Wednesday, but not with two small areas near corner flags.

He took the decision at 4.45pm to postpone the game much to the dismay of visiting fans who were already in Cowdenbeath, and also Premier Sports satellite TV station who were to broadcast the game live.

The Cowdenbeath board were shocked by the decision which saw them have to continue with hospitality packages they had sold for the club’s biggest home game in years.

Said director David Allan: “The pitch covers were put down on Wednesday and on Thursday we found that strong gusts of wind had blown a couple of them up but the groundstaff worked hard on Thursday to sort out a couple of areas that were a little firm.

“The covers were removed on Friday forenoon but the surface seemed fine and work continued on the couple of firm areas and by mid afternoon things looked fine.

“There seemed no problem but when the Rangers backroom man arrived he was a little concerned about a couple of small areas and that was how the inspection was called.

“It was a huge disappointment for the club for everyone was ready for the game.”

Cowden boss Gary Bollan felt that the surface was playable as did his assistants Mark Fotheringham and Ian Flaherty.

Rangers were not at Central Park when the game was called off and neither was match official Craig Thomson, which all added up to a very strange situation.

A number of Rangers fans had travelled a long distance to get to Central Park for the game.

Two Rangers fans travelled all the way from Manchester and naturally they were unhappy. Dave said: "I have walked over the pitch and it is fine, even these two alleged hard spots are so small they would not make any real difference no matter if nothing was done to them and I know that Cowden were wanting to carry out more treatment on these spots."

Jason added: "Believe it or not this is the second time I have come up and found the game off.

"In the Championship there was a real late call off but this one is not necessary. As Dave said even without treatment the spots are so small these would not have been a danger to anyone."

The game is now set down for Wednesday January 30, however, the long range weather forecast has periods of freezing cold conditions in the run-up to that date.