Alex McLeish urges people to 'get behind' Scottish referees

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson complains to assistant referee Daniel McFarlane during the cup tie with Caley Thistle
Alex McLeish says referees in Scotland are under "intense" scrutiny

Scottish football should "back our own boys" rather than consider having foreign officials in the Premiership, says national coach Alex McLeish.

It has emerged that the Scottish FA are to consider proposals from clubs to introduce referees from overseas.

McLeish says the scrutiny on match officials is "absolutely intense" and says he is sympathetic towards them.

"Give these guys a break and let's get behind them. There is absolutely no hiding place," said McLeish.

"It's just the scrutiny. You have social media, social networks . I feel for the referees and we have to try and help them in our own country. Lets encourage them and get them to be better."

Plastic pitch 'could be an issue'

In March, Scotland will face Kazakhstan in a Euro 2020 qualifier on an plastic pitch, and McLeish admits he would prefer to see the game played on grass.

He acknowledged that "one or two" players might not be available as a consequence of the surface.

"I don't need to lose my best players, so that is an issue," he said.

"But if you are playing on it every week you get used to it. Look at [Kilmarnock winger] Chris Burke. He is 34 or 35 and playing to a fantastic level. I saw him at the weekend and he is like an 18-year-old. Pressing, running at defences just like the wee Burkey I had at Rangers. And he is used to playing on it.

"The only thing I said the last time round was when the Celtic players came back to us on the Monday after the Livingston game they were a bit tighter than they would have been had they played on their own surface grass.

"I prefer grass - that's my stance on it - but I know there is economical values on it as well. But there are countries in Europe who have it in their top divisions."

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