McInnes Urges Media to Ease up on Scrutiny of Football Match Officials

The media must shoulder some of the blame for the recent intense scrutiny of football match officials, according to the manager of Scottish Premier League club, St Johnstone

Quoted in The Herald newspaper yesterday, Derek McInnes' remarks follow news that one referee received threatening phone calls after officiating the Celtic-Rangers match on Sunday while an assistant referee has decided to resign in the wake of controversially rescinding a penalty the previous week.

McInnes, whose side were beaten 3-2 by Celtic in their Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter-final at McDiarmid Park last night, was quoted by Ronnie Esplin, saying: “We need to be very careful because it’s getting ridiculous. I can totally understand [assistant referee, Steven] Craven’s reasons for being disillusioned. He is only doing a job and he was vilified for it. But the thing our officials have about them is an honesty. There is nothing underlying.

“The media have to look at themselves in this too. I know they have to respond to quotes and things, but I’m bored with it. I know if a mistake happens people will talk about it after the match, but we are talking about referees five or six days ahead of the game.

“It’s boring and unnecessary. There will not be a player on the park on [tonight] who won’t make a mistake.

“Managers and coaches will make mistakes, everyone involved will make mistakes. We pay too much lip service to it all.”

Meanwhile, both the Herald and The Scotsman yesterday carried major articles by leading sports writers advocating the use of more technology in governing football.

In The Herald, veteran reporter, Doug Gillon, switched from his normal beat of athletics, to address the issue, while, in The Scotsman, Tom English did the honours.

And English recalled: “A while back, the SPL managers got together and decided among themselves that they weren’t going to rail against officials any more.

“They thought it unfair on the men in the middle and that it demeaned the competition that their rants against referees made it all too easy for us in the media to fill our pages with the kind of controversy that didn’t do anybody inside the game any good.

“As Gordon Strachan said at the time: ‘If we’re not criticising referees then you’ll have to think of something else to write about, maybe something that reflects well on the league.’.”

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