BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Chairman Mike Mulraney has revealed Alloa Athletic took inspiration from Rangers themselves when they narrowed their pitch in a move condemned by Ibrox manager Mark Warburton.
The Wasps have brought in their touchlines by around five yards on both sides to reduce their surface to their slimmest dimensions possible in a bid to stave off relegation.
They made the alterations ahead of their encounter with Falkirk on January 2, a match they lost 1-0, and are unapologetic amidst the criticism that has followed.
Bairns boss Peter Houston accepted Alloa were well within their rights in making the switch but called for a change of rules to stop clubs from making such changes once the season is underway.
An ‘amazed’ Warburton has followed suit as he prepares to take his league leaders to the compact Indodrill Stadium seeking to maintain their eight-point advantage over Hibernian at the summit.
“How can you change the dimensions of the pitch mid-season? I find that incredible,” he said.
However, Mulraney has backed Alloa’s changes as manager Jack Ross battles to keep the club, currently four points adrift at the bottom of the table, in the Championship.
And he has detailed that, before making the move, the Wasps considered Graeme Souness ordering for the Ibrox pitch to be narrowed ahead of the second-leg of a European Cup tie against Dynamo Kiev in 1987-88.
Mulraney explained: “The club’s position is this. We applied to do something that is in the rules and we applied to do it in the midway point in the season, after we had played everybody once.
“You don’t even need to do it at the midway point, to maintain sporting integrity, but we applied to do it at the midway point so everybody had played on the pitch once wide and now they’re going to play on it once narrow.
“If other clubs don’t like that because they think they might find it harder to beat us then good!
“Alloa try to win matches – shock!
“If people don’t like the rules then, of course, they’re liberty to try and change them.
“My job as chairman of Alloa is to work within the rules for the benefit of my club.
“There were a number of factors we looked at when we considered doing what we’ve done.
“And one of those was Rangers successfully adopting the approach for one memorable European game when Graeme Souness was manager.”