Who is Scotland’s top referee at the moment? Who has the most experience? Who would you think would have been the odds-on favourite to take the game at the weekend, which is the biggest match in the country since the SPFL campaign began?
We know that two contenders are Clancy and Collum. But neither of them is in the running. No-one wants Don Robertson, who thought Sands should have stayed on the pitch at the weekend, which is one of the dodgiest calls I have ever seen.
Instead, we’ve got the relative inexperience of Nick Walsh, and that has caused some concern. Because he hasn’t been doing this long and he’s only ever taken one of these games before, and that one when the league race was already well and truly over.
So why Walsh? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely unsatisfied with the decision, because some of the other options – such as the appalling Beaton – could be worse. But you have to think that Ibrox’s moaning had something do with the narrowing of options here.
Let’s not kid ourselves here; we both know that they have been squealing behind the scenes and have made sure that Clancy and Collum don’t get high profile games involving them for the foreseeable future. They won’t stop there.
Walsh is a strange one. He attended a Catholic school, but he works as a PE teacher at one where the Ibrox youth academy sends its kids. None of that is the point. Ibrox has shown that it is perfectly willing to have referees kicked out of these sort of fixtures, and so Walsh will be on notice regardless of what his personal beliefs might be.
As this website has pointed out, the whole debate over Collum came down to a single decision, which was overturned on appeal. Don Robertson has not been put under a bit of pressure for his scandalous call at the weekend, and that’s the point.
They all know now that sending off Ibrox players results in complaints, and so does sending players off against us, which is why Clancy isn’t in the running either. Robertson didn’t get any real flak for the Sands decision, although it as clear-cut a second bookable offence as you’ll ever see and could easily have been a straight red for his being the last man.
So we go into this one with Mr Inexperience, and he already knows what he can do and what he can’t if he wants to get more of these games.
Should we be concerned? Of course we should.