Peat blames Macedonia for ticket row

September 8, 2008

Scottish Football Association president George Peat has laid the blame for the World Cup ticket fiasco firmly at the door of the Macedonian FA.

Peat, however, does not envisage the same problem for the Tartan Army when they head to Iceland for Wednesday's vital Group Nine qualifier.

Around 1,000 Scottish supporters were confronted by Macedonian riot police and were locked out of the City Stadium in Skopje, even though many had legitimate tickets for the game.

Peat revealed the SFA negotiated with their Macedonian counterparts to let the fans in but to no avail.

Peat said: "To be perfectly honest it was a shambles. The Macedonians were selling tickets to our fans on the afternoon of the match and then didn't allow them in.

"They said it was because these were Macedonian end tickets and as a result they didn't want any problems, so the police chief was adamant they wouldn't let them in.

"Gordon Smith spent hours in the morning and Derek Kirkwood spent hours as well and right up to kick-off we were saying there are big empty areas in the stand and they still wouldn't allow them in.

"They had told us and we tried to make it public that if you didn't have a ticket for the Scotland end, don't try to get in as they wouldn't let you in.

"But in the past countries have ushered them into these areas quite easily and there shouldn't have been a problem but the police chief was adamant.

"There should not be the same problem in Iceland. The fact was we only had a 1,000 tickets but there must have been 3,000 Scots there.

"To my knowledge it was a Macedonian FA that were selling these tickets.''

Despite the 1-0 defeat to Macedonia, Peat remains confident Scotland can still reach the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He said: "I said before the game if we lose to Macedonia it's not the end of the world, as these countries will take points off each other as the tournament progresses.

"If we win in Iceland that will turn everything at around and then we have Norway at home.

"As you noticed Iceland drew in Norway and no-one would have given them much of a chance there, so you can never tell.''