A Glasgow Derby between Celtic and Rangers is always huge for the fans, players and the referee too. So it’s a surprise to learn that one referee asked to be taken off it, before the Ibrox side had been liquidated.
There are always contentious decisions likely to come up in Derby matches. And whatever the fan allegiance, there is always going to be the view that the referee favours the opposition. So the officials on the pitch are always under the spotlight and till now, without the back up and support that VAR could provide for those big moments.
Craig Thomson handled 15 Glasgow Derbies through the course of his career before retiring from refereeing in 2019.
Thomson has recently opened up about the time he asked Hugh Dallas, head of referee development in Scotland at the time, to be taken off the Celtic vs Rangers game.
Thomson reveals how he asked to be taken off Celtic vs Rangers
As reported by The Scottish Sun, the former referee said:
“I handled one in May 2009, then the first game between the clubs the following season.
“I was supposed to do the next league game too and I spoke to Hugh Dallas about it.
“I just felt three in a row was too many, that you were always likely to be remembered for something in one of them.
“But there was a feeling in the SFA that there just wasn’t referees experienced enough to handle the game.
“I was eventually taken off the game and soon regretted it because Rangers were sent down the leagues and the game wasn’t on the league calendar for four seasons.
The lack of sufficiently experienced referees does sound like an issue for Dallas to resolve back then in his referee development role. And to this day, it remains a problem in Scottish football to be very honest.
That situation regarding experience of referees hasn’t changed much in the eyes of the fans, as controversies haven’t gone away. If any of the current group of referees asked to be missed out for Derby games it leaves a very limited choice indeed.
With refereeing controversy continuing there is much still for the SFA to resolve. The approaching introduction of VAR will add some relief. But there remains a lack of confidence from fans on refereeing appointments and decisions which will still need to be addressed.
This article was originally posted here