Scottish referees at Iber Cup 2014

Category 2 referee Craig Napier blogs about his week in Portugal at the Iber Cup 2014…

Day 1: Monday 30th June 2014

On June 30th I arrived in Lisbon with fellow Glasgow Referees Ross Hardie (Category 3D) and Ross Birrell (Category 4D) ahead of our participation in the Iber Cup 2014; an international youth tournament featuring 173 referees from 25 different countries and teams at U9s to U17s age-levels from across the globe with the nations represented as varied as Angola, Brazil, India and South Korea.

L-R: Danny Makkelie, Alan Snoddy, Sandy Miller, Konrad Plautz, Istvan Vad

L-R: Danny Makkelie, Alan Snoddy, Sandy Miller, Konrad Plautz, Istvan Vad

At the Tournament Hotel, we met up with the fellow participating Scottish Referees: Alex Shepherd (Category 3, Aberdeen), Robert Thomson (Category 3D, Lanarkshire), Dan McFarlane (Category 3D, Aberdeen) and Blazej Staniszewski (Category 5, Glasgow). I left the guys to start on their tans at the poolside to go for an acclimatising training session; Graeme Jones’s pre-Season training programme is tough enough back home before factoring in the 30-degrees midday heat. However, it proved to be good preparation for the fast-paced games that were to follow.

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Andrew Dallas and Graeme Stewart Euro elite round blog

Scottish FA referees Andrew Dallas and Graeme Stewart received appointments to Group Six of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round that was held in Scotland last week.

Here, they blog about their week as the under-17 teams of Scotland, Romania, Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina battled it out for a place at this summer’s finals in Malta.

Days 1-4 by Andrew Dallas

Days 5-7 by Graeme Stewart

Day 1, Sunday 23/3/14

I arrived at the hotel at 7pm after a long drive from Brechin after refereeing a match, on arrival I was worried that I was several hours late when in fact the only person to arrive before me was my fellow Scottish official Graeme Stewart who informed me that he had been eating shortbread and drinking tea in the bar for the past two hours waiting on others arriving.

ShortbreadAfter the arrival of all officials we attended the welcoming meeting that was hosted by our two Uefa observer’s Mr Uno Tutk from Estonia and Mr Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez from Spain. The meeting was too explain the format of the tournament and to discuss the rules that will be applied.

On conclusion of the meeting it was a quick bite to eat and then off to bed for some much needed rest. I received a phone call from Graeme who was very excited to discover that the room contained even more packets of Walkers Shortbread.

Day 2, Monday 24/3/14

Match Day 1 – Belgium v Romania

It was an early rise Monday for our 12pm kick off at Cappielow, Greenock. Our liaison officers Kenny Hope and Bill Machray advised we would be leaving at 9:15 for our trip to the ground. 1 hour 45 mins later myself and Graeme along with our Russian colleagues safely arrived at the ground after a couple of near misses on way due to the Glasgow traffic.

The match was evenly contested between both teams with a final result of 0-0.

Upon arriving back at the hotel we experienced our first de-brief with our Uefa observer Uno Tutk. The match passed without any major incident and the observer was happy with our team performance.

Graeme spent the next 3 hours trying to pick the 4 metres of double sided tape he had used to fix his Scottish FA badge to his referee top. The evening was spent relaxing in the hotel with our colleagues where we enjoyed a fantastic meal.

Day 3, Tuesday 25/3/14

Rest Day.

Graeme and I trained on the Rugby Park pitch along with our fellow officials who were surprised by the intensity of our recovery session (in truth this turned out to be a high intensity training session). We then attended our first video de-brief where we discussed coaching points from the match and received positive feedback on our performance. Graeme celebrated with a slice of shortbread.

Our evening consisted of a light meal and a lengthy pre-match discussion with our Finnish colleagues, 1 hour 30 mins later it was off to bed for some much needed rest.

Day 4, Wednesday 26/3/14

Match Day 2 – Bosnia v Romania

Once again we were lucky to have the early kick-off being played at Somerset Park, Ayr. Again the match was an evenly contested affair with Bosnia ending up 1 nil victors. Our observer for this match was the vastly experienced Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez, who has officiated some of the biggest matches worldwide. We got the opportunity to work with our Finnish colleagues and the feedback from our observer once again was positive.

Following another tough training session on the Rugby Park pitch we decided to relax for the evening and sat down to watch the live SPFL football match with our Finnish colleagues. We celebrated the 35th birthday of the Finnish assistant referee Ville Koskiniemi and he was introduced to haggis and a gift of complimentary shortbread from Graeme of which I’m sure he shared with Graeme.

Day 5, Thursday 27/3/14

Rest Day/ Recreational Day

Following a light breakfast filled with refereeing stories by Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez we all gathered for our trip to Hampden where we would give our foreign colleagues a tour of the football museum which shows the legends of Scottish football who have graced the hallowed turf. This was then followed by lunch in Glasgow city centre where Andrew ordered his 10th fillet steak of the week (unknown to me placing it on my room tab).

On return Andrew and myself went to what can only be described as the coldest gym in Scotland while our colleagues opted for the warmer surroundings of the sauna and steam room.

After another tough training session the evening consisted of our official dinner which was attended by members of the Scottish FA and club officials from the participating teams. We enjoyed a fantastic meal, Andrew enjoying another beautiful steak “room 209 Stewart”.

The remainder of the evening was a relaxing affair socialising with new friends talking over our refereeing experiences to date.

Day 6 Friday 28/3/14

After a late breakfast where a lot of black coffee was consumed by some, suffering the after effects of a fantastic official dinner it was off to Rugby park for training. This consisted of a light session in preparation for our final match the following day.

We then received the results of our video test, the Scottish pairing scoring a respectable 18 out of 20 only to be pipped at the final hurdle by our Russian colleagues who scored 19.

The afternoon was spent relaxing with a light lunch, some of our colleagues trying ‘haggis’ for the first time. All thought the dish was lovely until Andrew and I explained where it originates. The colour quickly drained from some of their faces.

Prior to our evening meal we all met in the meeting room for the final time and reviewed the video footage from our second matches again the feedback received was positive for the Scottish officials.

It was then off to bed to prepare for the matches the next day which unfortunately did not carry the same competitive edge as Scotland U17’s had qualified for the final tournament in Malta with one game to spare.

Day 7 – Saturday 30/3/14

Match Day 3/ Final Day

Bosnia-Herzegovina v Belgium

The final day of the mini tournament was not long in coming around and whilst the group had already been decided the pressure on the match officials had not relinquished any as it was important we all finished strongly. The match was a close affair in the early stages however Bosnia eventually ran out resounding winners 3 goals to nil.

On return to the hotel we had our final match de-brief with our uefa observer Uno Tutk, once again the match going well for myself and Andrew.

The final evening was spent enjoying a lovely meal and a few light refreshments with our new found friends.

Overall the mini-tournament has been a success and very enjoyable with myself and Andrew getting a glimpse of what life would be like as a full time match official.

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La Manga 2014: Greg Aitken

Category One official Greg Aitken reflects on a physically demanding week in La Manga, as Scotland’s top referees gear up for the second half of the season.

With this being my third winter training camp in La Manga, I had a fair idea of what to expect however the main difference this year was that the Specialist Assistant Referees (SARs) were joining us. This is the first year that the SARs have attended the winter training camp so it was always going to be a bit different.

Greg Aitken in SPFL action.

Greg Aitken in SPFL action.

As usual we started with the customary early rise for our flight. We arrived in La Manga, had a quick bite to eat and that was followed by a recovery session consisting of some light jogging and stretching, then it was off to the pool for a swim. At night we headed for dinner, but not before we had been hit with a Laws of the Game and video test!!

The physical tests and body fats were all done on the Monday morning and that was followed by our first practical session which took place out on the pitches. This session consisted of decisions in and around the penalty area. We have been trying to incorporate more practical sessions into our gatherings over the last couple of years and they are really beneficial. The only problem being is that some of our colleagues have to act as players which does not come very easy to many of them!

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La Manga 2014: Frankie Connor

Frankie Connor

Frankie Connor

Frankie Connor, a Category Three Specialist Assistant Referee, blogs from the Scottish FA’s Referee Winter Training Camp in La Manga, Spain.

This is the first year the assistant referees have been part of the winter training camp, as Scotland’s officials prepare for the second half of the season.

I was delighted when Head of Referee Operations John Fleming contacted the Specialist Assistant Referees (SARs) to ask if we would be available to attend five days in La Manga, Spain for the winter training camp.

After the hectic Christmas and New Year schedule the timing if the trip could not have been better.

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Refereeing goes transatlantic – American

Refereeing goes transatlantic – American officials take part in Glasgow City Youth Tournament:

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Did the 2012/2013 season ever stop?

John Fleming, Head of Referee Operations

johnflemingcupSaturday the 27th July 2013 in the eyes of the football supporter denotes the 2013/2014 season kicking off with 16 Ramsden’s Cup fixtures.

Our last official appointment of season 2012/2013 was on the 10th June – Pollock versus Ashfield – two prominent junior teams whilst the last senior appointment was on the 26th of May – the William Hill Scottish Cup Final between Hibernian and Celtic.

So my office can breathe a sigh of relief dust themselves down and relax for a whole 15 days! Yep off we go again. The first friendly match of the season has hit the desk 26th June as Crichton take on Annan Athletic. Come this Saturday, we will have appointed no fewer than 180 friendlies. Did the season ever stop?

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John Beaton physically prepares for biggest season of his career

Image It’s hard to believe that it’s just a week until my first competitive match of the season – it also happens to be one of the most important of my career! That’s life in refereeing these days as the time we have between the seasons seems to get ever shorter. You won’t catch me complaining though as I am buzzing for the new season starting and I am slowly but surely getting back to peak fitness.

I managed to cram in 65 appointments last season – finishing things off as additional assistant in the William Hill Scottish Cup Final on the 25th of May. It was a fantastic season but physically and mentally it was an exhausting one and I really did need a break. It was also good to spend a few weekends with my wife and daughter – although I think they will be glad to get rid of me again.

With the official Scottish FA fitness test at Stirling University taking place on the 15th of June, I kept myself ticking over for a couple of weeks before taking five or six days out when I did no running and gave my legs a rest. It doesn’t sound like much but I am a bit obsessive when it comes to training and for me that was a long time off.

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Bobby Madden on the role of the Additional Assistant Referee

Category One referee Bobby Madden will be one of the first Additional Assistant Referees ever used in Scotland when he takes to the field at this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup Final between Hibs and Celtic. Here he blogs about the role of the AAR…

Bobby Madden

When I received the call to confirm my appointment as an Additional Assistant Referee (AAR) for the 2013 William Hill Scottish Cup Final, I was absolutely delighted. It’s a great honour to be appointed to the national final and the fact it is the first time in Scotland any match has utilised the AAR makes it that little more bit more special.


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Fleming invests in goal-line training over technology

John Fleming, Scottish FA’s Head of Referee Operations, invests in goal-line training over technology:

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Florida fun for refereeing father and daughter

Father and daughter Crawford Allan and Vikki Allan both referee at the highest level in the men’s and women’s game in Scotland. As a Category 1, Crawford referees in the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League, whilst daughter Vikki referees in the Scottish Women’s Premier League and Scottish Women’s Football League. Here, Crawford blogs about their recent visit to Florida, where they watched the Scottish Women’s team in action against Olympic champions USA.

image1We had heard the Scottish team were playing against the USA in Jacksonville and we were staying in Orlando which is just over two hours from Jacksonville so it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. Vikki has refereed a few of the players from her games back in Scotland and we were both keen to go and support the team. Vikki also knew she would learn from watching a top class international fixture which was being refereed by four USA female officials.



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