Scottish FA frustrated by Macedonia

sfaScottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith admits his Macedonian counterparts have been "awkward" to deal with after Scotland's opening World Cup qualifier was brought forward to a 3pm kick off in the Skopje heat.

Smith revealed Scotland did not want to play away in their first match on September 6, but the Macedonian authorities threatened to tear up the fixture list if their demands were not met.
George Burley now faces a tricky double header on the road for his first two competitive matches in charge, with Iceland to follow four days later in Reykjavik.
Burley has admitted he would have preferred to avoid such a scenario and Smith revealed only the stubborn nature of the Macedonian FA prevented Scotland's first match taking place at Hampden.


As well as the travelling, Scotland now face further problems after the Macedonian FA moved the match forward two and a half hours earlier this week.
Burley had already identified the heat as an issue with Skopje regularly experiencing late-summer temperatures in the 30s. The average high temperature in the Macedonian capital on September 6 is 27C.
Smith, who was helping promote fund-raising activities for the Davie Cooper Centre, admitted the earlier kick-off time could make life difficult for the Scots.
And he added: "Macedonia were actually difficult before because they were going to withdraw from the fixture meeting if they didn't get their own way.
"The fixtures were already set with Macedonia being the first game at Hampden, when they said they were going to withdraw from the meeting unless they got their first game at home.
"They were very awkward at that moment and they did the same with Norway.
"They changed the fixture with Norway, much to their consternation, but the fact was if we didn't accept the fixtures as they were at that point, they were going back to FIFA and FIFA would draw them out of the hat.
"We could have been playing anybody at any time.
"So we had seven matches that we thought were in the right order and we just had to take this one.
"The awkward thing about it is the temperature over there. I think Macedonia are moving it to accommodate television but it probably won't suit us to play at that time of the afternoon."

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