WORK is well underway on the installation of a new artificial pitch at Murray Park similar to some of those Rangers have been playing league games on both this season and last.

The original astroturf which was laid when the Auchenhowie facility opened in 2001 has been lifted over the last fortnight.

And today the first sections of its replacement are being put in place, with the project expected to be finished before the end of the month.

Gers received funding from the Scottish Football Partnership and they are supporting the costs along with Rangers Lotto and the club itself.

Having the new park will allow the first team to prepare on it ahead of competitive fixtures as more and more synthetic surfaces replace grass equivalents at grounds around the country.

Academy Operations Manager Craig Mulholland believes the pitch will be of great benefit, particularly to the club’s youth, ladies and girls sides.

He said: “Our artificial pitch gets used almost every day of the year and after being there for 12 years, it wasn’t in the best condition any more.

“As part of our SFA audit, we are required to meet FIFA’s two-star standard for a synthetic pitch and our old one might not have done that.

“The surface had become quite compact and the harder a pitch is, the more likely it is players will get injuries.

“Having a new one reduces the chances of that happening and also gives the first team the opportunity to prepare on a pitch akin to the ones they might be playing on if they wish.

“People talk about 3G and 4G pitches but there’s no such thing. The spec is determined by the length of the grass, the amount of infill and other similar factors.

“We’re getting a state-of-the-art pitch which will be at top end of the FIFA two-star ratings and we’re delighted with that.”

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