McCoist says TV to blame for attitudes to referees

Gers coach says quality of officials is same but they're under far greater scrutiny

Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist admits he feels sympathy for the current crop of referees and insists they are no worse than when he was a player.

The Scottish Football Association's head of referee development, Hugh Dallas, spoke out on the standard of refereeing in Scotland after a meeting with SPL chiefs last week. He believes match officials have not been good enough this season.

But, as far as McCoist is concerned, there are no more mistakes being made now than 15 years ago – television coverage is simply highlighting the errors that are being made.

He said: "You have to feel for the referees, they are under more scrutiny now than at any other time in football because of the media and television.

"I wouldn't honestly say there has been a massive drop or rise in standard. I just think they are under scrutiny a lot more than they ever have been and, unfortunately, when they make a mistake, it's all over the place. It's shown from this angle, another angle and has to be commented on. I don't think for a minute they are making a lot more mistakes than 10 or 15 years ago."

However, McCoist admits he does think some referees are more capable of doing the job better than others, albeit that he declined to name names.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's Active Nation Scottish Cup replay against St Mirren, he added: "You do have favourite referees, referees who you think are good – the same as you have favourite players and not so favourite players.

"We don't particularly have one as a club and I won't be telling you mine. I've always been absolutely fine with referees. You have to have an appreciation of the difficult job they're doing. That's not to say you're not going to fall out with them occasionally but you have to appreciate the job.

"Sometimes at five o'clock on a Saturday that's difficult when things have gone against you but I'm sure referees appreciate that as well."

Meanwhile, McCoist insists he is happy to continue working without a contract until the club's financial worries are resolved.

Manager Walter Smith and his backroom staff agreed to work without new deals when their contracts expired in January as Rangers continue their search for a new owner. McCoist said: "The most important thing is the club, the state of the club and the health of the club. Anything else is secondary and that's a fact. Somebody asked me if it's a worry that the club's finances haven't been sorted out yet and of course it's a worry.

"But, at the same time, if it takes that little bit longer and the decisions are the correct ones and the health of the club becomes very good again, that is the most important thing. Of course your situation as an individual is important but I think we all appreciate the far bigger picture and that the most important thing is the club."

McCoist is expected to move into the hotseat when Smith quits but he does not believe the manager's departure date will be based on whether Rangers triumph in the SPL or not this season.

"I think it will depend how he feels more than anything," he said. "He has never given me any indication at all. I don't expect to hear any sooner or any later. He has made his own decisions throughout his managerial career and he will continue to do the same. I don't think anybody could deny that he's doing a good job."

Rangers have no fresh injury worries ahead of their replay against St Mirren. The holders came through their convincing 3-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win against Hibernian unscathed at the weekend. However, assistant manager Ally McCoist has hinted Rangers could make some changes for tonight's fifth-round tie at Ibrox. The first match ended goalless.

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