The much-anticipated top of the table clash between SPFL Championship leaders Hearts and Rangers ended in farce tonight when the game at Ibrox was abandoned after 25 minutes because of snow on the pitch and fears for the safety of the players.

Despite heavy snow in Glasgow in the hours leading up to the game, referee Bobby Madden gave the go-ahead for the game to kick-off after inspecting the pitch at 7.00pm, some 45 minutes before its scheduled start.

When the game began, however, players from both sides struggled to keep their balance and the ball stuck in the snow covered surface on more than one occasion. The only moment of note came when Hearts Alim Ozturk hit the crossbar with a free-kick.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson agreed with the decision to abandon the game. “I think it was the right decision to start the game, but it was becoming worse and dangerous,” he told BBC Scotland.

The decision was a frustrating one for the 2,000 Hearts supporters who endured difficult conditions travelling through to Glasgow – and some of whom experienced attacks from Rangers fans as they headed for supporters buses after the game was abandoned. At least one Hearts supporters’ bus had its windows smashed as police tried to deal with ugly scenes.

A date for the re-arranged game will be announced by the SPFL early next week. Hearts remain 13 points clear of Rangers at the top of the SPFL Championship.