Date: 13th January 2020 at 6:52pm
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Crawford Allan has been appointed as the SFA’s new Head of Refereeing, replacing John Fleming.

The new man will find himself in at the deep end with a shrinking number of referees capable of handling the top fixtures after decades of domination from the Lanarkshire Referee Association which has produced Hugh Dallas, Willie Collum, Bobby Madden, John Beaton and Andrew Dallas.

Introducing VAR promises to be problematic but with Steven Gerrard and Derek McInnes calling for the move it will be unlikely to be ignored.

The SFA website reported:

Crawford, who enjoyed a near 30-year career as a match official – including a decade in the top flight – was selected after a rigorous recruitment process involving a high calibre of candidates with experience from across the UK and beyond.

Crawford has also amassed more than 35 years of experience in change and risk management in the banking sector and was Chair of the Scottish Senior Football Referees Association, the representative body for match officials.

The 52-year-old from Edinburgh, who began his referee career in 1991, became a Category One official in 2002 and retained that status until retirement two years ago, ending his career with a Scottish Premiership tie between Hamilton Academical and Dundee.

His daughter, Vikki, is also carving out a successful career in the game as a FIFA assistant referee and match official, and as a Scottish FA Youth Ambassador for Change.

He takes up his new post with immediate effect and will undertake a handover period with Thomas Murphy, who was appointed as interim Head of Referee Operations after the tragic death of John Fleming last October.

Being from outside of Lanarkshire is something of a surprise with Allan giving up top flight refereeing in 2017. During his final season he took charge of three Celtic matches, a home win over Inverness Caley Thistle and home and away games with Hamilton Accies.

Tomorrow the SFA will announce the match officials for the weekend Scottish Cup ties and next week’s midweek card which sees Celtic travel to Kilmarnock without the suspended Ryan Christie.