Football

Dundee Vs Rangers: Dark Blues Boss Docherty Declines To Get Involved In Dens Park Row

When asked what state the Dens Park pitch was in following the latest call-off, a Scottish Premiership fixture against Rangers, due to a waterlogged surface, Docherty said in a media conference: “I really don’t know. I’ve not been anywhere near the pitch."

Tony Docherty, Dundee manager, dodged the pitch controversy. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA
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Dundee manager Tony Docherty kept his “laser focus” on Saturday’s trip to Pittodrie as he dodged questions about the Dens Park pitch and the controversy over the second postponement of their game with Rangers. (More Football News)

Docherty’s side will clinch a cinch Premiership top-six place if they beat Aberdeen and a draw would suffice if Motherwell get a result against Hibernian at Fir Park.

Defeat for Dundee would put off confirmation of the make-up of the top and bottom six until the game with Rangers finally goes ahead.

The match is now scheduled for Wednesday, but alternatives are being discussed between the clubs and the Scottish Professional Football League.

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When asked what state the pitch was in following the latest call-off on Wednesday due to a waterlogged surface, Docherty said in a media conference: “I really don’t know. I’ve not been anywhere near the pitch. We are in the Gardyne training facility and that’s where I have been for the last two days preparing for the Aberdeen game on Saturday.”

Rangers accused Dundee of “negligence” after the postponement and Hibernian are reported to have complained to the SPFL given Docherty’s side may go into their final pre-split game knowing what they need to achieve.

The Dundee manager refused to get involved in the furore.

“In my capacity as football manager, all I can affect is my role as football manager and it’s incumbent upon me to make sure I prepare a team for the matches that are upcoming,” he said.

“So anything outwith that, I can’t affect other teams, I can’t comment on other teams, I wouldn’t comment on other teams.”

When asked about the prospect of facing Rangers at a neutral venue next Wednesday, Docherty said: “There is nothing I can do about that, I can’t affect that. I can affect the Aberdeen game and that’s where my laser focus is. Nothing can distract us from that.”

Dundee’s previous game against Motherwell was the subject of similar uncertainty and talks over alternative venues and dates before it went ahead following a late inspection last Saturday, the visitors winning 3-2 after Dundee went 2-0 up.

Docherty said: “Of course it can be unsettling because you prepare for every game. We have had five call-offs. You prepare for every game in terms of game plan, selection of players. But players quickly move on and I quickly move on. That’s gone now, that’s in the past.

“It’s incumbent upon me as manager to make sure there is a laser focus now towards the Aberdeen game and that’s what me, my players and my staff have got. The next game is the most important game and something that we are very focused on.

“It’s huge testament to this group of players, as the newly-promoted team and the youngest squad in the league… Seventeen of the squad have made their Premiership debut this season, of that 11 are under 21. It’s huge testament to the group that we are a win away from that (top six) and it’s advantage us because it’s in our hands.

“I need to give them great praise for that and I want to see them sprint across that finish line.”

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