Football: Wilson worries over `inconsistent' officials

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The Independent Online
SCOTT WILSON, the young Rangers defender, yesterday expressed his fear that one mistimed tackle in an Old Firm game has singled him out for special attention from Scottish referees.

The Scotland Under-21 player believes that he has become an easy target for Premier League officials after receiving his second red card of the season against Aberdeen at the weekend. Rangers' 4-2 win at Pittodrie was only Wilson's seventh start of the season. He has mainly been used when Lorenzo Amoruso, and Colin Hendry have been unavailable.

One of Wilson's appearances came in November's 5-1 Old Firm defeat when the 21-year-old was dismissed 20 minutes into the game after a rash tackle from behind on Celtic's Henrik Larsson.

Following Saturday's red card Wilson said: "It's getting to the stage now where I feel refs want to book me all the time after my first tackle of the game. I wish that wasn't the case because I'm anything but a dirty player, but I'm now starting to wonder if the whole thing surrounding the Celtic game is going to haunt me forever.

"I just seem to be getting punished for everything I do right now and I must admit it's slightly worrying because it might get to the stage where I'll be scared to tackle. It has been in the back of my mind all the time since Saturday and I don't want that because I don't like to hold back when I play the game."

With Hendry ruled out for several weeks with a persistent groin injury and Wilson now suspended for Sunday's visit to Dunfermline, his latest misdemeanour will force Dick Advocaat, the Rangers manager, into another defensive reshuffle.

Wilson believes the problem has arisen due to inconsistency among referees rather than a flaw in his own game.

"In my last two games, against Stenhousemuir and Aberdeen, I've made three identical tackles. I was quite rightly not cautioned against Stenny yet I got booked for both tackles on Saturday," he said.

"I hope that referees realise there is no malice in my game and I don't want to be labelled reckless either. I like to look on myself as a hard but fair player."

Wilson has the support of Advocaat, who has suggested video evidence should be used as a matter of course to rule on the validity of yellow and red cards. "If a disciplinary commission looks at these two yellow cards I don't think they can justify punishing him," he said. "The second action did not deserve a booking but we aren't appealing against the ruling because we just don't do that."