Davie Hay has highlighted the Lanarkshire factor in the current refereeing storm.
The former Celtic boss famously suggested joining the English League in 1986 after a David Syme masterclass had presented Graeme Souness with the first trophy of a regime that eventually led to administration and liquidation.
Over the last week three referees have been involved in highly controversial match decisions. Andrew Dallas, Willie Collum and Bobby Madden are all from the Lanarkshire Refereeing Association. Another member, John Beaton, was in charge of the controversial Glasgow derby on December 29.
Of the seven Scottish referees on the elite FIFA list four of them are from Lanarkshire giving them access to the top domestic matches and lucrative foreign appointments. Refereeing a Champions League match provides a match fee of £6,000 with business class travel and accommodation. Plus you get to invite your pals as assistants, additional assistants and one as a fourth official.
Looking over the current refereeing matters Hay claimed in the Evening Times:
The only thing that will help is bringing in some consistency and having better referees. What has riled everyone this season is the lack of consistency and until that changes then you are always going to have pretty big episodes like this. We are also not helped in Scotland in the fact that we are a small nation with a small pool of officials so it is the same faces always in charge of the same teams.
Under the leadership of John Fleming Lanarkshire officials stand a better chance of promotion than referees in any of the other 11 regional associations.
Most of the current crop of referees have at least another 10 years left on Grade 1 and the FIFA list, only a revolution will see any change with accountability the last thing that today’s match officials want to know about.