PFA Scotland has named Fir Park as the best pitch in the Scottish Premiership for the 2017/18 season.
After a season long study of all 42 of the SPFL’s pitches – a joint venture between the players union PFA Scotland, the Scottish FA and Sports Labs, the leading international experts in sports surface development and testing – Fir Park was named the best surface in the Scottish top league.
Throughout season 2017/18, players at all Premiership clubs were asked to rate the pitch they played on every time they were away from home via a specially commissioned PitchRater APP.
The breakdown saw the Premiership clubs rated:
1st – Motherwell’s Fir Park: 4.26
2nd – Hibernian’s Easter Road: 4.10
3rd – Dundee’s Dens Park: 3.94
4th – Celtic’s Celtic Park: 3.75
5th – Partick Thistle’s Firhill: 3.52
6th – Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium: 3.50
7th – Ross County’s Global Energy Stadium: 3.26
8th – St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park: 3.08
9th – Aberdeen’s Pittodrie: 3.00
10th – Heart of Midlothian’s Tynecastle: 2.96
11th – Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park: 1.70
12th – Hamilton Academical’s New Douglas Park: 1.18
Off the back of the PitchRater study, PFA Scotland, Sports Labs and the Scottish FA will sit down with relevant parties, including groundsmen, to go over the results in more depth and come up with a list of recommendations going forward to improve, and maintain, the condition of pitches across all SPFL clubs.
Fraser Wishart, chief executive of PFA Scotland, said: “Too often players’ views are overlooked within football. In this case alterations are made to pitches and different surfaces laid without any thought of, or consultation with, our members.
“It is often forgotten that the pitch is our members’ place of work and for that reason we are delighted to partner in this groundbreaking research with Sports Labs and the Scottish FA.
“Players are the ones with the intimate knowledge of how a pitch plays, how it feels underfoot and what type of football has to be played therefore it makes perfect sense to ask them for their views.”
Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows added: “I am delighted the hard work, dedication and talent of our head groundsman has been recognised and acknowledged by the professional footballers in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
“There are a number of excellent pitches in the league and to have been named the best by the players is a huge feather in our cap and a validation of our recent hard work to improve the surface at Fir Park, which struggled for a number of years prior to Paul’s arrival.
“We have invested significantly once again this year as we strive to make our surface even better for future seasons.”
Paul Matthew, head groundsman at Motherwell said: “I am pleased Motherwell has been named the best pitch in the Scottish top flight.
“I get fantastic support from the senior management at the club, something I don’t think anyone in my industry will underestimate.
“The industry as a whole is on an upward curve at the moment with a number of extremely talented groundsman in place who have enhance their pitches.
“I look forward to further support from the SPFL to help further protect and improve what is a vital part of the product in this country.”