NOVI SAD, Serbia (Reuters) - Serbia’s home World Cup qualifier against Scotland will go ahead later on Tuesday after fans helped clear snow off the pitch at the Karadjordje stadium.
Deteriorating weather conditions had put the Group A match in doubt but it will kick off as planned at 1930 GMT, according to Serbia state television. The Scottish FA’s website also confirmed that match would kickoff as planned.
Visiting Scotland fans, some wearing kilts, grabbed shovels to assist stadium staff in Serbia’s northern city of Novi Sad as the snowfall got heavier at lunchtime, prompting officials to a arrange a final pitch inspection an hour before kickoff.
Local television showed a photo of several Scottish fans clearing a pile of snow off the pitch after hundreds of visiting supporters arrived in Serbia for the fixture.
The two teams have only a slim chance of making next year’s finals in Brazil, with Serbia on four points from five games and Scotland sitting bottom of the group with two points. Belgium and Croatia are top with 13 points, followed by Wales on six.
Disappointed with Serbia’s tame 2-0 defeat at bitter Balkan rivals Croatia on Friday, Serbian supporters used Internet forums to praise the Scottish fans for their efforts and suggest the home team’s players should have followed their lead.
“Hats off to the Scottish contingent, Serbia’s players should have joined them to warm up for the game because shovelling snow is all they are good for,” one of them wrote on the B92 website (www.b92.net).
Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Sonia Oxley