Men In Black

Morning,all. Today’s article offers us an insight to the duties of a referee and his assistants. Written by my big pal SOL KITTS,and based on his own personal experience,it’s a bit of an eye-opener!


Match day for most referees at senior level actually starts several days earlier, when the fixtures for the weekend are posted on the FA website.

After confirming the fixture with the league, checking ground details, kick off time, and names of assistants, the ref will make initial contact with the home club, and his assistants.

Contact with the home club is to establish who will meet you at the ground, and check the teams colours don’t clash; contact with the assistants is to set up travel to the game (best to travel together to allow everyone to get to know each other when it’s assistants you’ve not worked with before, and to renew old friendships with familiar assistants).

On the day of the match, the officials arrive at least 3 hours before kick off, meet the home team contact, time for a cup of tea, then onto the pitch for an inspection (pitch condition, corner flags, nets). This is usually when the assessor appears, to listen to your instructions to your assistants.

Instructions (from me) were usually set out in such a way as to involve my assistants as much as possible. Start with easy stuff. Who is the senior assistant? Explain their roles, who takes what notes during the game.

The teams. Inspections in the tunnel. No jewellery allowed, not even if taped up. If a player can’t or won’t remove it he doesn’t play. Kit set out as regulation, tape on socks the same colour as the socks. Check their studs. Nothing dangerous. Undershorts and undershirts to match the colour of the kit.

Throw ins, pitch cut into 3 thirds. My third, the end furthest from the assistant, my decision, see what I’m giving and flag the same way. Assistant’s third, I will follow his decision unless it’s plain wrong. Middle third, look at each other, watch hands pointing (his and mine) try not to clash, don’t go too quickly.

Goal kicks and corners, be up with play, maintain eye contact with me, make sure we both call it the same.

Offsides, stay on the 2nd last defender, do not flag too soon, make sure the attacker is active, and once you’ve flagged, do not put it back down. I will only over-rule if the assistant gets it wrong in law (eg a pass back).

Fouls and misconduct, I always reminded my assistants that they were qualified refs who knew what a foul was, and what required further punishment (yellow or red). They were told if they saw a foul that I couldn’t see to flag for it, but if I had a clear view to take their lead from me – I was always close enough to play to see everything except blind side pulls, etc.

Penalties, I would generally be close enough to make the call, but my assistants were always told to flag where I had been caught out by a long punt up the pitch, or where a foul happened in their zone of control (the penalty area in a line from the 6 yard box).

Dissent, if a player got out of hand, let me know and I will deal with it. Same with the benches.

Instructions over, time to get changed, back to the changing room (minus the assessor). This is the time to properly discuss the forthcoming game, what to look out for, how the tightness of control will happen as and when the intensity increases. If a game looks like boiling over, expect more free kicks to take the steam out of it.

Next, equipment check. Everyone goes out fully kitted up, all carrying whistles, note books, cards, pencil. Don’t forget your coin (no stone, scissors, paper lol). And especially two watches,don’t want any suggestion of Fergie Time!

Assistants, remember your flag.

Team sheets arrive, both managers together. Check they’re properly completed, query anything that looks wrong. Introduce the assistants, handshakes all round. I always told the managers that I liked a flowing game and if their players just wanted to play football then I would let them. My team would only get involved when we needed to. I asked them to tell the players that dissent would always lead to a card.

Warm up for about 15 minutes. Shuttles, laps, sprints, got to have the muscles warm and ready for a fast start, back to the changing room for a final equipment check.

Around 8 mins before kick off, bell the players to assemble in the tunnel. Assistants carry out the equipment checks as they leave their changing rooms. Both teams lined up together, assistants confirm all ok, we lead the teams onto the pitch. Line them up, get the handshakes done.

Break away, assistants check the nets again then return to the centre circle.

Bring both captains together, introduce myself and the assistants by name, address the captains by name. Briefly remind them how you expect them to control their teams, let the know they can talk to me during the game, but not in a dissenting way.

I won’t change a decision just because they don’t like it, but I will respond to a polite request for clarification. Remind them that dissent will result in a card.

Coin toss. Winner gets to choose ends, loser kicks off. Count players, 11 a side only please,

Assistants take up their positions, and at just over 3 hours after arrival at the ground, we have a game of football.

Half time, talk through the 1st half with the assistants. Did I miss anything? Are they performing at the level I need them to? What can we expect 2nd half? Who’s on the verge of persistent fouling?

2nd half, assistants recheck the nets. All flags still in place? Senior assistant, or 4th official in bigger games, deals with halftime subs.

Count players again.

Here we go again, 2nd half of a game of football.

Full time, joined quickly by assistants, handshakes with them, players and managers. Watch everyone off the pitch, the men in black are last off. If a manager wants to discuss anything about the game, tell them to wait 20 minutes then come to my changing room.

Back to the changing room, quick debrief with the assistants before the assessor comes in. Go through his notes on the game, discuss points he raises and explain why certain decisions were made.

Assessment report will be emailed in a few days, hope it’s a good one, a poor one could mean no promotion this season.

Assessor leaves, we get changed back into civvies (shirt and tie) then off to the boardroom for a bit of hospitality and get expenses claims settled.

Around 6 – 7 hours after arriving at the ground, time to drive home, after dropping off the assistants.

Get home, log onto the website and do the disciplinary paperwork, caution, send offs, other misconduct, email these to the FA.

So that’s Saturday done, now onto my Wednesday fixture being notified, and it all starts again.

And you thought we just turned up, did the game, and went home…

Notify of


Thanks very much for that,but three bloody hours before the game? Gone are the days of-“Still five minutes before it starts,fancy another pint?”

Sol Kitts

I loved every minute of it. 28 players got to enjoy a game of football because 3 officials were prepared to put the time and effort in. Wish my knees would let me keep doing it now.


Dodgy knees?

Getting your excuses in early for Saturday’s dash to the bar?

Btw,I genuinely didn’t know you guys turned up so early,and that the prep was so meticulous. Takes some doing.

Sol Kitts

Very interesting although I admit some of it over my head. I was wondering, is it a thankless job at times?

big packy

hi sol kitts, fascinating insight into the world of refereeing, my mate Darren is a ref, and he had told me a lot of what you have just said, also having to get his body fat checked regularly, I don’t envy you guys with all the flak you get, I salute you all.hh.

Saltires en Sevilla

Sol Kitts,

Riveting read buddy.

Love the detail and your passion for the part you play to ensure the game runs smoothly.

Especially your attitude to dissent. Really rips my knitting when players start with it.

Wondering if you feel there are any changes we might see adopted in future?

Apart from ripping up the existing Scottish model and ‘planting’ a leader and crew of continental referees in Scotland, I see some merit or likelihood of the following:

Reduce number of players on park at any one time; maybe down to 8 outfield to create more space ( when football Pitch dimesions were standardised players were less able to cover the ground. Increasing pitch not practical so reduce numbers ‘in play’ at any one time?

More substitutions permitted ( not one of my favs. But can see it happening to accommodate larger squads)

4 x quarters and ‘clock ticking in play only’ a nod to US style football. ( again not one of my favs. I can see it happening as commercial pressure demands more tv ad time during a game.

TV reviews in game time, this is one I would do right away. The technology is not that expensive to set up basic cameras in last 1/4 of pitch. With a replay function refs. Can review important decisions. It doesn’t have to be an exact science on quality but affords refs more time to pause/ breath and review before decision is made… for me that adds to the drama. ( a room full of 3 Huns making decision is NOT for me … just to be clear… ref has final say!

Sin bins to be considered for some offences that are not red?

Player injured another player giving away a foul, injured player goes off for treatment the the ‘culprit’ remains off the park until injured party returns.

If a player has to leave field after injury due to foul play and no subs left then the culprit must leave the field.

Suspensions by compliance officers or ‘straight red’ should be served against the club who ‘lost’ advantage. IE Sevco player puts knee on Hertz keepers’ head misses next 3 games versus Hertz.

These are just layman views and would like the professional viewpoint on practical changes that might improve the games.

Also Sol, would be good to have your views on the big talking points after games.

I like to get my money’s worth …?


Sol Kitts

That’s why I have an app

Sol Kitts
Very interesting reading, many thanks.
Note you mention the assessor and no promotion if a bad report is received, imo they are the problem in scotland, how they can hand on heart condone what is happening week in week out is beyond me…..Oh Wait.

Dang,forgot about that!


Sol Kitts

Thank you for this interesting piece – just reinforces the old adage “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” – and yet however it happens.

The ICT v Celtic semi-final hand-ball farce, all the assaults by Morelos, McGregor and Naismith and the ludicrous penalty decision on Sunday. These were all potential game-changing, season-changing decisions, and all were wrong.

The speed of the game can make it difficult for referees – VAR must be the way forward.

In all areas of life where technology can make a positive impact, it is normally used, indeed large swathes of the criminal justice system would grind to a halt without CCTV – football should be no different.

Mike in toronto


Except in Scottish football, the arbitrators of our game, from those that run the game down to the referees, seem the most corrupt.

Maybe what is needed is not VAR to ASSIST the refs, but VAR OF the refs!

Who is watching the watchers?

Seriously, any technology is only as good as how it is useD. This season, it seems like the appeal process is being used by one team to get their cronies to rescind red cards. Why would VAR be any different.

My fear is that, Until Celtic grows a pair and insists upon a fair, honest and equal application of the rules of the game (which we seem unwilling to do), VAR will just be another tool to further assist one team.

mike in toronto

Sol Kitts

I should have made it clear …. the comments about referees was not directed at you! I am assuming you are one of the good guys, as you are posting on here ….



Good day Mike,

Robots refs – the mind boggles – “put him in the (Mike Mc) curry!!!?.

There is no doubt that the Ibrox club have been treated lightly in many decisions this season. It has always been the case on the field and in Park Gardens/Hampden – however just what Celtic, on its own, can do about it, I don’t know. We certainly don’t want a never-ending diatribe of shit like Traynor excretes from Murray Park every other day.

Sort the refereeing problem, not a problem.
Approach the sfa and ask them for a complete overhaul of the referring system, the overhaul to include….

Referees to sit in front of a panel each week and explain justify their decisions.
Panel to be made up from representatives of the clubs involved…so a Celtic v Motherwell game a rep from each club.
Referees who make mistake after mistake are to be demoted, the scale of the mistakes to be determined.

All clubs must want a better standard of refereeing, if the sfa refuse ask them to justify why they have refused, if the answer is not satisfactory go public with it, tell the media that there is no will from the sfa to have open and transparent refereeing, jeezo, even the huns want it don’t they 😉
Lump the pressure on to the sfa, make them justify why they don’t want an open and transparent refereeing system, what do they have to hide.

saltires en sevilla


Good point buddy.

HH ( hear hear)

saltires en sevilla


Aye! 100% all of this!

Change the refs. 30 senior refs from a mixture of countries on assignment here. Led by a group with authority to insist in consistent standards and answearable to the clubs ( as you suggest)

Programme to bring in local refs to follow new guidelines and assess.

Promote only when ready. If at all.

Boot the eejits oot!

How many continental refs would relocate here for the bucks we pay them …plenty!!

Price we can not afford, Not to pay!

mike in toronto

Dont see it that way, mate.

Doing nothing has clearly not worked. In the past, we had no evidence. We do now.

But, we have largely stayed silent. Instead of being grateful that they were allowed to continue in any form, and chastened in their conduct, they seem to have taken our silence as leave to ramp up the cheating.

As long as we stay siient, it will only get worse.

This doesn’t mean that we have to get down in the mud with them at every turn. But, on key issues, our club needs to make its position know to protect its rights and the rights of its shareholders and fans. Unlike the zombies, that doens’t mean lying or dissembling; it simply means setting out the facts and law, and demanding that they be applied fairly. And, if once in a while, we have to roll up our sleeves/get down in the dirt to put them in their place …. well, its about time our Board started to earn their pay.

The real question is why our Board refuses to stand its ground.

We are never going to get the truth from others, if we dont give it ourselves.

The Gombeen Man

Sol Kitts,

Thank’s for the fascinating insight into the mysterious and murky world of refereeing at the senior level. Referees have always had a very difficult task and it’s probably more difficult today.
Brendan Rodgers appears to have a cordial relationship with the officials and rarely makes any public comment.

An incident that immediately comes to mind was in April 2017 against Ross County when Rodgers reportedly told the referee, Don Robertson, that he owed Erik Sviatchenko an apology after awarding a penalty. Scott Brown was also red carded and as far as I recall the card was reduced to a yellow on appeal.
Rodgers later stated that he had received a call from the Referee’s Development Officer, John Fleming to apologise for the Robertson’s award of the penalty.

The odd thing was that Robertson was appointed as Willie Column’s assistant for our next game, a Cup Semi Final against Sevco.

Take the pressure that Willie Column has been put under by Sevco. The feeling that senior officials appear to allow cynical and dangerous fouls against Celtic players on a regular basis. The fact that a number of senior referees reportedly have an allegiance to a club based on the south side of Glasgow. There appears to be something very unsatisfactory in Scottish football’s attempts to produce a fair, rule-based game.

Watching EPL games and European games it often appears that our game is refereed to a completely different standard and we are playing by our own set of rules. There never seems to be a week that goes by when something is missed.

The tackle by Scott McKenna on Odsonne Edouard in early October is another example. McKenna later was given a two-match ban. How Bobby Madden managed to miss ‘the assault’ is simply beyond me.

As in most matters, Celtic don’t do their business in public, but for all the rigorous preparation that you eloquently describe I have a feeling that there is something very wrong with the administration of the Scottish game as a whole.

The quality of the refereeing is simply a symptom of the dysfunction, it isn’t the cause.

Until we have the courage to address the roots of the problem the matchday officials are just its visible manifestation.



Sol Kitts
Many many thanks for todays fascinating and insightful article.
Like many I had no idea of the daily grind of a whistle, and that is an eye opener indeed.
We would all love to see Scottish regs binned as due to societal pressures or personal allegiance they fold. Sometimes it might even be incompetence. But it will take the entire setup to fold as they are an integral part of keep Timmy in check.
In the wider game the top 5 will have Var soon and its about time. We will get used to it.
There’s too much riding on some games now for a mistake to determine the outcome. Henry handball against Ireland showed the system up, and I believe helped along the process. It also showed the impact if could have on the person committing the “foul” as Thierry was in a bad way after that and thought of quitting the team due to lack of support over the issue.
Perhaps a ted in each half for leagues the next tier down? I see subs during injury time is gonna get binned soon I heard, that old waste 90 seconds trick. Always peed me off why the ref didn’t book the player trudging off extremely slowly in the 92nd minute.
Anyway, again cheers.

Rebus from yesterday, I think we need 4 of the back 5 replaced. Keep Kt and build again. 2 center halves gone in summer at latest, leaves Ajer who I want as back up.
Lustigs legs are going, Gamboas not fancied, Izzy is short term also.
A new right back and Johnson to compete?
Keeper, instead of getting better with age Craig is slowly declining, not his fault.
Bain is right age but distribution looks suspect just like Craig.
So massive upheaval at the back predicted and it would be nice to start working on that next month. However qualifying for Champs league extremely unlikely with a new defence. Best to bed some in for a few months,,, splash the cash!
Hail Hail

Cosy corner bhoy

When we get this new ‘4 at the back’ how long before they would be ‘operational ‘ ?
Complete fantasy land,surely,to have 80% of your defence starting from scratch as ‘a team’
How many games to ‘get ‘ each other and where are the games to blend where it makes no difference if Celtic lose?
Don’t agree on Bain… hardly ‘suspect’ and at least much than Gordon a the kicky ootie?
Must say I am enjoying the blog,although I would obviously be biased!!

Cosy corner bhoy

Thought it was CQN that caused my typing errors??
Should have read…..much better than Gordon at the kicky ootie.


CCB, 2 in January would be a good start at helping the new setup become operational.
I’m not sold on either keeper as you can tell. And it’s clear we will have 2 new starting center halves. Mick is deteriorating.
Yep we need 4 of 5 where I sit. I suspect Craig and Mik will go nowhere for another year or two, ,, and Ajer will come back into the starting 11. Mik could do with having solid competition now so as to pick and choose games.
Hope all’s good. Hail Hail


Sol Kitts,

Thank you for your article. Last year I met a Scottish ref in my local restaurant here in sunny Canada. We had a little chat throughout the meal. Maybe it was even you!

From the article here and the chat I learned a lot about the process of being a ref and the pressures that they are subjected to. It is not an easy job. The European ventures seem to be the best of it.

Whilst many fans lack insight into the match day experience of the ref, the performance of Dallas on sunday illustrated that there is something wrong with a system that awards him a game of the significance of the LC final. He was clearly out of his depth. The fouls missed by both sides, the penalty, the toleration of dissent…..all were evidence of a poor ref. Will he be demoted? We shall see. I have seen him several times and there is no evidence that he is improving.

One glaring flaw that I see with the current system is the role of the assessor, who next week will be a ref himself. Why would an assessor give a damning report on a ref who will, in turn, be assessing his performance in the future?

In short, what is supposed to be a continuous improvement system is broken because the assessment is flawed.

How you fix it is another matter and probably would require serious money thrown at it. Perhaps bringing in assessors from other leagues?

Again, thanks for the insights,



Mike I don’t disagree with the thrust of what you say – but It begs the question; why do the board at Celtic choose not to challenge most decisions.

We have fought our case in the past – Robert Kelly over the Irish flag and Fergus over the Cadette fiasco. As far as I know, probably as far as anyone really knows, an official complaint has been lodged on the Res 12 issue.

So why would our professional & successful board not be willing to challenge refereeing decisions? Is it observing the correct protocol that prevents this? I know others do as they please, however Celtic have always been a club to do thingsin the correct manner.

Should we have played a third match against Racing Club – should we have played a third match against Rapid Vienna in Manchester?
In both instances most fans, including me, would have said no, however Celtic agreed.

Iķn England, plenty of managers ‘shout the odds’ about decisions going against them, however those who actually run the clubs do not.

In Scotland we have a rag-bag of a club so desperate to keep their Gullibillies on side that they descend to the lowest common denominator argument on every occasion, pub- talk and terracing-talk fashioned by Traynor and released as official club policy – I am glad Celtic are not like that.

I understand others may disagree with me here HH.

I don’t think it needs serious money thrown at the problem, I reckon you have hit the nail on the head with this…..
“Perhaps bringing in assessors from other leagues?”
Been saying the assessors are the real problem for years, if the ref gets away with being crap he will be.
Demotion has to be the carrot so to speak, money talks at the end of the day, take away their easy money and as sure as eggs are eggs they will improve no end.

I agree we are gonna need at least two CB’s very soon, the start of our season was a disaster in the defence, cost us a CL place imo, we can’t afford to let this happen again, I hope Brendan has told the bold Pedro that this time it’s serious.

big packy

it was serious in the summer, but fook all was done about it, so don’t anybody hold their breath this is peter lawell we are talking about, I rest my case.hh.



Here is what they could do.

State that

They have seen all the evidence including the latest sent to SFA in June when Celtic preferred not to act on it.

Have sought advice from UEFA which is licence was awarded in compliance with intent of UEFA FFP.

Show that advice with reasoning and we all go home.


UEFA confirm that 2011 licence was awarded in breach of UEFA FFP and Celtic are in discussions with fellow clubs to look at the implications for Scottish football and will work with them to arrive at a solution that will restore trust in the Judicial Panel Protocol (JPP) under which Scottish football rules are demonstrably being enforced fairly without fear or favour.

Put the other clubs on the spot in front of their supporters whose clubs suffer more from unfair financial play than Celtic.

Not pretend the situation didn’t significantly change in early June and the JPP is to be trusted by assertions something indeterminate is going to CAS when the bloody Terms of Reference aren’t written.

I do appreciate your point about the bigger picture, the lengths gone to avoid admission that what took place from March 2011 was anything but honest, only throws more suspicion on Celtic and that is a much greater danger imo than the current policy of leaving the solution with the SFA and JPP.

It calls for leadership.

Sol Kitts

Down here the assessors (they’re now called observers as it’s more pc) are refs who have worked at the highest level and have stopped being “in the middle” for various reasons. They bring a wealth of experience to assist the current refs in improving their game, and have earned respect through their careers. The real issue at the top level, in England and Scotland, is the lack of proper sanctions when a ref has been consistently poor. At least in England poor performances are just that, there is no agenda like there is in Scotland. One of the pitfalls about having reffed is that you never really stop. I watch football on TV and feel angry and embarrassed by some of the blatantly wrong decisions certain Scottish refs make, decisions which can’t be explained unless you know their agenda. You just don’t get that in England, but then you also don’t get to ref any club that you’ve ever had any connection with.



You and others have seen this before. It is an extract from A Celtic Underground article from 2010>2011.

The Referee Service

This would be split with the SFA doing the recruitment, training and match appointments (having taken the nature of the game to be officiated into account). However the monitoring and evaluation would be the province of the customer, using referees or ex refs from anywhere to mark to a standard set by the customer. This spilt of responsibilities would prevent any one person being in a position to exert his own influence on referees as a result of being part of the appointment and evaluation process. It would safeguard the SFA from the kind of suspicion that led to the referees’ strike and lead to a higher standard of referee because the customer would be setting the standard not the supplier (as happens everywhere in business but football) If it did not, it would free the SPL/SL to hire their own referees from wherever they could get them. A bit of competition never did anybody any harm and that includes our referees who, if they reached higher standards, would be in more demand outside Scotland.

Its not that difficulty but it would be what a professional organisation would do.

As would this to introduce domestic financial fair play

The Licensing Service

This needs to be more transparent. As it stands it is likely to approve Rangers licensing application that enables them to play in next season’s UEFA competitions. This, despite question marks over Ranger’s ownership; the intent of that ownership; (an intent that has still to be conveyed to the other small shareholders in Rangers), not to mention (Scottish media style) a potential crippling tax bill.
Not only is it likely to approve a license this year in spite of the above, its role in not preventing Rangers getting into the situation they now find themselves in has surely to be investigated and changes made to prevent Rangers, or any Scottish club, endangering themselves and their fellow clubs in the future. In short the Licensing Service that is supposed to protect the financial well being of Scottish clubs has failed and that failure has undermined the integrity of our game.

The process the SFA use is governed by UEFA and the new UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules that stipulate amongst other things what is to be treated as allowable income and allowable debt come into force for the new season. The problem with the FFP rules is that they are designed to stop rich owners putting money into clubs and thus help restrict player wages, the high cost of which is why so many clubs are carrying so much debt.

Whilst an indirect wage cap will indirectly help Celtic (and Rangers) by making us more wage competitive with our neighbour’s in the Championship and lower EPL, neither ourselves nor Rangers are particularly high wage payers nor do we get income Abramovic style from our major shareholder.
However what Celtic have had to compete with in the last decade is our main rivals Rangers first indulging in a questionable method of paying player wages (EBT’s) and then borrowing beyond their means to repay. This has all but destroyed the integrity of our game, something that can be inferred from the Scotsman article where it says,
‘which last season led the SFA’s legal and moral authority to be undermined by constant challenges.’

It is therefore clear to any observer that the processes that have allowed Rangers to damage themselves and with it the game that the SFA is supposed to protect must be tailored to reflect the reality of the SPL not the EPL.
In Scotland, unlike England where 4 clubs can qualify, the risk of failing to get CL money means the loser can be condemned to being the perpetual bridesmaid or not getting a wedding invite at all, forcing them into taking risks/gambles that can seriously damage the well being of each club, if not end it. So the licensing processes in Scotland have to be tighter to take more of an account of a clubs debt and to confirm that all players at all clubs are contracted on a basis that complies with standard tax law principles. ( a tick against “ Are your players wages subject to PAYE should suffice)

A way of balancing debt with income and expenditure would be a triangulation profile for all clubs. A triangulation profile would have income (A) in one corner, players wages (B) in another and debt (C) in the third. The triangle has to be equilateral and kept in balance and the figures from the accounts supplied to the SFA by clubs have to feed each of the balance points.

It gets more complicated in that what is counted as income has to be defined because some has to be allocated to non football costs, but as these need to be met they have to be included in the formula to set (A). What can be allowed as income will be defined by the UEFA FFP rules but is generally gate money, TV income, merchandising and UEFA money.

Players wages including PAYE and NI should be easy to arrive at and the debt level would have to bear some relationship to the income and wages.

So say for arguments sake (and the multiplier would have to be argued) the debt allowed was 3 times the difference between income and wages (like they used to do in my young days when mortgages bore some relationship to income) then everyone would know if a club was overborrowing if (C) > (A)-(B)*3

A simple spreadsheet drawing on the figures from the accounts with a pie chart to present the picture could be published for each club without divulging the figures beneath and any club not meeting the result of the formula would have their licence to play in UEFA competitions refused as well as it triggering an SFA audit of their accounts.

There is for Scottish Clubs (usually Celtic and Rangers) however an additional issue of what is allowable income for triangulation purposes because of the “skew” affect of Champions League money and the fact that it cannot be depended upon.
Because of the consequences of the proposed profiling, a club borrowing would have to take a risk that they were always going to have that money as guaranteed income as its loss would risk a refusal of a UEFA license or an audit under the proposed profiling rules.

So what any sensible club would do is not to include money that could not be depended upon in the income, and if they get a windfall (like CL money) that is used it to avoid or to reduce debt levels, not to keep using debt to try and ensure they get the money that enables them to stay in debt, as Rangers have done.

In fact any sensible measure of governance in Scotland with only two realistic competitors for CL money should insist on the CL money being excluded from the debt affordability calculation by removing it from the allowable income. (since Euro Cup money is more dependable and a lot less this could be included as allowable but not CL money)

The principle of limiting debt to what you can afford is one which our banks abandoned to everyone’s cost and is a principle that needs to be restored everywhere never mind being introduced to football. The triangulation profile is a simple representation of that principle and a more detailed one looking at what is and is not admissible as income and what the debt multiplier might be in the context of Scottish football is required. Any club who wishes to operate as if CL money is guaranteed and is allowable for financial profiling purposes could only do so if they have good reasons to believe that this is the case. Those reasons should be supplied and made public.

Whatever approach is adopted Scottish football needs a more relevant process and the SFA should be saying something about the lack of transparency in the Licensing process and what they intend to do to address it.

I have seen that before, it makes perfect sense, which begs the question, why the silence from the club.
A fair, open and transparent association should be a bare minimum, we don’t have one, I agree with TGM that the referees are just an extension of them, but they are what we see every week, they are not fit for purpose like their masters.
We have to start somewhere and I would wager that if you asked every supporter in scotland the biggest majority by far would be in favour of an open and transparent refereeing system before anything else, so start by cleaning them up.
I have always said, “Sort the referees, sort the problem”, I believe that 100%


Originally I thought we would need the following assessors. 6 for SPL, 5 for each other league per match day. That is 21 assessors per match day…recruiting that lot FT would be expensive. Flying them in less so, but still hefty dollars.

However, however, just doing this for the SPL and “special” lower division matches would be very affordable.



Apols for the double post!! Please delete one or even both!


mike in toronto


My thoughts on why Celtic have handled this the way they have are well known …. DD overruled PL and said that Rangers were necessary and he wanted them around. And as we know, DD doesn’t work for PL..

I agree that, on rare occasion in the past, we have stood our ground. Not so much with this Board. But, this is different…. we have evidence, and knowing that, we either are part of the solution, or we allow ourselves to become part of the problem.

by cheating, they created the problem. But, by failing to act upon it, once we have evidence of it (regardless of the outcome of those efforts), we make it our problem.

By failing to act, we are not taking the high road, we are allowing them to drag us down to their level.

A Thing Of Beauty

Thanks for the insight sol kitts. You need a real love of the game to put in that effort over a number of years. Though I suspect it’s the love of Celtic that may have led you towards refereeing. In my experience when you move away and can no longer watch Celtic, there is zero interest in following another team, it just doesn’t matter enough. Fair play to you for giving your time to let others enjoy the game. I’m interested in your view that you can tell there is an agenda. We just assume there is but don’t have the experience to KNOW there is. That sort of knowledge combined with attending Celtic games regularly would lead to me being arrested!!!

I must admit I didn’t consider the lower leagues when I posted, knowing the sfa it would be busing them in mind you 😉
I still reckon that putting thew refs in front of a panel every week and asking them to explain-justify their decisions would be a good thing, it happens and works well in Poland, but the thing that would work better than anything imo is demotion, take away their easy ish money and replace it with nothing would soon focus their minds.

There has to be the will for change and it’s just not there, why would they want to change, it’s worked well for them for decades after all, this has to be forced on them, I can but dream.


I always take your input seriously and I do again today.

1. Is there any appetite in other clubs for a confrontation such as you suggest?

2. What is the desired outcome?:

a) An admission that the awarding of the
licence was wrong.
b) The above plus retrospective
disciplinary/ legal action against
those who submitted the application,
knowing it was wrong, and those who
approved it, knowing the same.
c) The subsequent suing of those
individuals and their respective
organisations for denial of
opportunity for Celtic to compete in
the 2011/12 CL qualifiers.
d) Or if all of the above fails, a motion
to ridicule and dismiss the CEO and
entire board of directors of Celtic

Option d) seems to me to be uppermost in the minds of many – you are not included here.

I am not now, nor, have ever been one for brushing wrongdoing under the carpet, I would like an answer, but I don’t want to bring the whole house down in the process – I know that some do – even the Belfast Celtic example has been suggested by some zealots.

Bring down our club because of the corruption of others – aye right – where would we go?

I believe what will happen is that the decision in 2011 will be acknowledged as wrong and a failure of process. There will be reassurances that there will be more transparency and that safeguards are in place to ensure it will not happen in future.

I would be delighted for your feedback HH.

Just an observation about things down in englandshire re managers and who they buy.
When I look at the likes of Huddersfield, Burnley, Hull etc, etc and the like, I look and see how they have basically wasted 100’s of millions on players who would struggle to make our bench if at all, I am satisfied that we are doing good even tho I think we could do so, so much better in the transfer market.
No way am I exonerating Pedro, he needs to up his game and back our manager, we are up against it in so many ways, rule breaking and corruption and bent referees, you would have thought that him and our board being besotted with money it would be so much cheaper to sort these problems as opposed to throwing their bonuses away on transfer fees and high wages 😉

Sol Kitts

Every ref can have a bad game – I’ve had some howlers in my time. The difference between a bad game and an agenda is that bad games don’t tend to favour one team in a match. If I was getting decisions wrong then both teams got the “benefit” of my errors. Oddly enough, while the assessor would pick me apart the teams accepted that sometimes refs cocked up, all they really want is consistency, and consistently wrong at least let them set their boundaries.
An agenda driven ref will only really favour one team, throwing their opponents the odd scrap now and then. He will only play it fair when his favoured team is either out of sight in a game, or so far behind they won’t catch up. Occasionally he will be forced to make a decision because a player does something that just can’t be ignored (eg Arfield’s assault on Hearts goalie), but if the game is close he can still frustrate the opponents. Look at how often Madden broke up Hearts attacks v 10 men by giving free kicks to Sevco just outside the Sevco box.
All I ever wanted at the end of a game was to be able to say I was fair to both sides, and called it as I saw it. If only the Agendas thought the same way…..
By the way, Mrs Kitts and I will try to come and see you and your parents next time we’re up – been a long time.

Sol Kitts

If only I could tell what our table number would be I could get the beers in ready for us arriving at the pub. ???

A Thing Of Beauty

Thanks for the explanation. Madden infuriates me probably more than others. He knows we know what he is up to and he just carries on regardless. It annoys me when Celtic don’t question the ref after particularly bad games. I just don’t understand it, especially when we’ve won. Tomorrow night will show Scottish refereeing in all its glory as we try to combat the ufc tactics employed by Motherwell. Proper refereeing would stop this sort of shite football and improve our game but that doesn’t suit the agenda. As for the visit, that would be lovely. We’d even take you to the game!!!

Sol Kitts

It’s what you make it, tbf. What puts youngsters off is when they get abused by players, and haven’t the life experience to deal with it. I’m over 6 ft tall, and grew up in the west of Scotland, before moving to Essex. My job involves man management on a national scale, so dealing with stroppy players was never an issue – often a look was enough to kill any dissent before it got started, and if that didn’t work, a yellow card did the job.
One of the best feelings as a ref is when both teams offer a good game ref comment at the end of the game, even if they lost. Far outweighs the moaners.



My personal desired outcome was that an investigation by UEFA would produce what the work of the Res12 guys has done, evidence that the SFA could not be trusted to run our game professionally and that evidence would then be used to bring about the kind of reform I posted about earlier.

I had good reason to have that hope having been told after the LNS Decision that to bring about a more professional SFA a Dougie Dougie moment was required.

Res12 was shaped to bring that about.

However all down the line the UEFA route was eschewed by Celtic for unknown reasons, although part of the narrative involves a conversation between UEFA and SFA in Sept 2011 where the TRFC submission of June 2011 was verbally accepted by UEFA. Yup a period that the JPDT were supposed to scrutinise until somebody pulled the CAS squirrel out of the bag.

As regards other clubs: supporters in general are much more informed about the role finances play in football success and whilst the gap between Celtic and TRFC is too big to have a major impact on on field success, if TRFC were running sustainably then the gap between their clubs and TRFC is not the same and curbing debt based on spending beyond reasonable means is in the interests of supporters of other clubs.

If same supporters were to realise that their chances of football success were limited by the way the SFA try to protect TRFC at all costs from going under then they refuse to renew ST’s.

One way or another those supporters will have enough of the full narrative by ST renewal time to finally force Scottish football to become professional.

At the other level of those individuals involved, if still in the game, should be named and sentence placed in the court of public opinion

The SFA/SPFL should provide supporters with details of any changes and how they counter what happened to corrupt Scottish football since 1999 based on evidence since then. Some of which has deliberately been kept from scrutiny.

Your fear of the consequences killing our game, which I share, is there because those charged with governing Scottish football has created such a possibility by treating supporters like you and I with contempt.

As I posted on CQN borrowing from The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran) speaking of Pain.

Res12 is the bitter potion by which Scottish football could heal its sick self but it is a potion they fear to sip.

For a club founded on love, fear should have no hold. (imo).

Sol Kitts

I don’t think there’s a lot wrong with the laws of the game tbh, it’s the implementation of them that needs work. 11 a side is the ideal, but I would make the size of the pitch standard across all professional clubs. At the moment the pitch can be anywhere between 100 and 130 yards long, and 50 to 100 yards wide, and must be rectangular. Reducing the pitch size to frustrate better football teams should be banned. Professional footballers should play on a full size pitch, end of.
Not sure about sin bins. Proper use of yellow and red cards would maintain player discipline, trouble is too many refs bottle it and would use the sin bin as a soft option to avoid sending a player off.
Like the idea of suspensions being served when the culprit plays against the wronged team.

Sol Kitts

I must be getting old, I remember when Majoc and I would take YOU to the game.



“Res12 is the bitter potion by which Scottish football could heal its sick self but it is a potion they fear to sip.”

Perhaps there are those that fear UEFA’s response to a country struggling to remain relevant in European football should be even considering an internecine war between it’s association and its member clubs.

With all due respect, I don’t think the Celtic board is involved in some kind of conspiracy to spite their supporters.

There is more to this situation than meets the eye.HH


New Article Posted !


Neither do I.

I think they believe that what they are doing or rather not doing is in Celtic’s best interests but appear afraid to explain why.

Especially when giving the impression in 2013 they wanted a more professional SFA, but spurned the opportunity to do so without an explanation.

As a result they have questions to answer, posed at the AGM that have still not been answered in writing.

If their response is on your lines as in it is in Celtic’s best interests not to pursue Res12 and here is why, then folk can make up their minds and we can move on.

However, in spite of having the opportunity to do just that or act on new information, they have done nothing but stick to the same never ending story script.

Res12 guys have been protecting Celtic from criticism since 2014 AGM on basis Celtic wanted resolution.

That changed this year when out of the blue an opportunity to end Res12 arose in June.

Suddenly it all went quiet. CQN who ignored it during the Judicial Review days never gave it a mention in run up to AGM this year.

I don’t know why but it’s as if Celtic want it buried without giving reasons.

Trust is a two edged sword.


When you are dealing with the facts in front of your eyes,and painstakingly compiled by yourself and your colleagues,you know for a fact that 2+2=4.

When you are dealing with an accountant,2+2 can equal whatever he or the client wishes it to be.