I was in charge of refereeing in Scotland for nearly 13 years and it gives me no pleasure to see the present strike action by the top Scottish referees.

That is not to say I do not support them. I agree that action had to be taken. 

 I think the attacks on them have been excessive and are part of a much bigger agenda.

In my time at SFA I knew I could rely on the support of my two General Secretaries, Ernie Walker and Jim Farry, not just behind closed doors but also publically.

It seems to me that Celtic Football Club have been allowed to make repeated attacks, accusations and insinuations without someone in authority at the SFA coming out strongly  not only to support the referees but also publically to reprimand Celtic FC which is the main cause of the problem.

Am I being cynical in suggesting that the referee crisis has come at a good time for Celtic? They were well beaten by Rangers in the last Old Firm Derby but immediately focussed on a penalty decision by the match referee and demanded that the SFA give a full explanation why the award was given.

The answer is very simple. The referee gave a penalty kick because he thought it was a penalty kick. Do the Laws of the Game not say “ïn the opinion of the referee?” 

The Chairman of Celtic is John Reid, an experienced and formidable politician in the last Labour Government. He was able to come through the recent Celtic AGM with hardly a criticism of the fact that the club has failed to win the SPL Championship for the past two years, made the unsuccessful appointment of Tony Mowbray as manager and this year was eliminated from both the UEFA  Champions League and the Europa Cup almost before the Scottish season  had started.

In the recent Dundee United v Celtic match referee Dougie McDonald was wrong to try to cover up a mistake the way he did, but the decision was eventually correct. He did not cheat Celtic who eventually won the match.

The new Celtic coach Neil Lennon has brought a new aggression to the touchline and to his handling of the media. When he was a player he was hardly the most popular player in Scotland and he seems determined to continue in similar fashion as a manager.

Scottish football will recover from this crisis but it only if the SFA take a much stronger stance and publically supports its referees.

The new Chief Executive, Stewart Reagan and the SFA President George Peat must stand up to Celtic and must regain control of the situation.

Had they done this two months ago, the strike might never have taken place.

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