Referees caught in spotlight

Scottish football
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The Independent Online
Scottish football


The ever-increasing media spotlight on referees focused on several decisions in a weekend when the actions of the match officials drew as much attention as that of the players.

Sandy Roy, of Aberdeen, allowed the Celtic-Hibs match to continue for about a minute while Hibs had no goalkeeper. With Jim Leighton off the field for treatment, Darren Jackson had deputised and when Leighton appeared at the touchline to re-enter the fray, Jackson rejoined his fellow strikers. Unfortunately Leighton required further treatment and unnoticed by either the referee or Jackson the game was restarted until the linesman flagged that there was no custodian in the Hibs goal.

Jackson, who had given Hibs the lead in the 35th minute fumbled on the hour mark to allow Pierre van Hooijdonk to score Celtic's equaliser, and although Leighton returned he was helpless to prevent Paul McStay ending a goal-scoring drought stretching back 57 games to score the winner.

Controversy also reared its ugly head at Firhill where Rod McDonald, the Partick Thistle striker, was warned by the referee Jim McGilvray that he would be reported for blessing himself as he left the field at half- time. McDonald was later ordered off for a second yellow card, to the consternation of the player and his manager, Murdo MacLeod.

"The linesman reported the action to the referee but Rod blesses himself going on and off the field in every game. At half-time, we were told he was being reported but not that he had been booked," MacLeod said.

Partick will await the referee's report before deciding if any further action is necessary. McDonald scored for Partick, although two goals from Paul Gascoigne sealed a win for Rangers which keeps them a point ahead of Celtic.

Falkirk moved off the bottom with a 4-2 win over Kilmarnock while Hearts were 2-0 victors over Raith Rovers.