Referee Callum Murray has apologised to Terry Butcher for awarding a penalty to Rangers against Inverness Caley Thistle on Saturday.
There was minimum contact between James Beattie and Stewart Duff before the Rangers striker hit the deck with Murray racing dramatically to the scene and pointing to the spot.
Despite the protests of the Inverness defenders there was to be no ‘Dougie Dougie’ moment for the referee to consult his assistant despite the widespread belief after the Tannadice fiasco that assistant are best placed to judge these incidents.
Fortunately Kenny Miller missed the gilt edged chance provided by Murray with ‘keeper Ryan Esson saving the striker’s penalty.
Butcher revealed: “The ref came up to me after the match and said sorry.
“Another official had got in touch to say it might not have been a penalty. But I have no problem with it.”
Perhaps if Miller had scored and Inverness were fighting against relegation Butcher might have had a problem.
It’s not known whether Murray apologised straight after the match or whether he did so after watching the incident again on television.
While Murray is likely to be praised for his honesty in admitting to the mistake the underlying problem needs to be addressed by demoting the referee off the SPL list for at least two months.
There is no point praising referees for their honesty and continuing to pick them for top matches. Demotion is likely to give a younger referee a chance to show that they have the nerve to get the big, title changing, decisions right.
The cynic may suggest that Murray’s apology is to keep him in contention for taking charge of the Rangers-Celtic January 2 fixture which is going to cause the SFA a severe problem.
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With Steve Conroy yet to referee any Celtic or Rangers match so far this season and Dougie-Dougie taking early retirement Murray is one of only four referees to have been in charge of a Glasgow derby.
Conroy can be dismissed as a contender for the January 2 fixture while eagle eyes Willie Collum won’t be asked to referee consecutive games between the top two.
That leaves the SFA to choose between Murray and Craig Thomson who had a nightmare performance at Ibrox last season denying Celtic two penalties, booking Shaun Maloney and Mark Wilson for simulation and allowing Kyle Lafferty to go unpunished for an x-rated attack on Celtic debutant Zheng Zhi.
Apologies from referees in recent seasons have been very rare although Kenny Clark and Craig Thomson, via Hugh Dallas, have apologised for not awarding Celtic penalties against Rangers at Ibrox with both incidents occurring in front of the Copeland Road stand.
After their recent strike and the impressive performances of the foreign referees brought in to replace them the last thing that Scottish referees need is more high profile honest mistakes.