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We need to talk about Scottish referees

Referees were once again a hot topic after last night’s Premiership clash between Aberdeen and St Johnstone at Pittodrie – and with high profile errors happening seemingly every game, there needs to be a serious discussion around the standard of officials in Scotland.

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson was left furious after Gavin Duncan pointed to the spot after a foul outside the box on Dons defender Calvin Ramsey.

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That came 24 hours after Peterhead were denied an absolute stonewaller in their Scottish Cup defeat by Dundee, with Celtic’s game v Raith Rovers on Sunday also featuring a couple of massive mistakes from the officials; you’ll be unsurprised to learn there were a number of errors across the four other Scottish Cup ties on the Saturday.

Nobody is expecting officials to be infallible and never make mistakes but with so many mistakes being made, the Scottish FA need to do something quickly.

VAR has been touted as a big step forward for Scottish football once it it finally implemented but with the officials who are currently in charge of games given control of the video technology, there isn’t much hope that anything is likely to actually change with VAR.

Moving to full-time professional officials would be a step in the right direction and help referees and assistants bring their standards up, but that is likely to take years to see any real benefit.

Allowing more transparency between officials and managers, as well as fans, would also go a long way to helping people understand how some of the decisions are made – even if the explanation isn’t one that brings universal agreement.

The most drastic option would be bringing in foreign officials on a semi-permanent basis but that is unlikely to win much favour from the Scottish FA.

The longer the consistent mistakes are allowed to go unchecked and unpunished, Scottish football’s reputation will continue to be tarnished and leave fans, players and coaches disillusioned.

When Davidson spoke last night he commented how he hoped that after being hurt by mistakes from officials in each of their last three games, maybe a “shocking” decision would help his side get three points against Hearts this weekend.

While the Saints boss was only half-serious, it highlights just how poor our referees are.

Its time the Scottish FA done something before referees ruin the entire campaign and beyond.

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Categories: Columnist
Tags: Scottish footballScottish Premiership