FORMER whistler and SFA advisor Kenny Clark has opened up about refereeing in Glasgow Derby games back in his day. The referee who has made himself an after dinner circuit act where he has let his veil slip in many respects tells us how he used to go about refereeing the game.
Clark recalls analysing in his head how he would approach the match and play on scenarios which could crop up in the game. Clark refereed these games when the Ibrox club went toe to toe with Celtic because of their deployment of an illegal EBT scheme. He recalls fixing his position on the field to look out for certain battles between rival players.
Looking out for the familiar flashpoints from repeat offenders, with Clark saying history does come into these games with players previous discrepancies could work against them in the heat of battle.
We saw no sign of that when Alfredo Morelos was allowed to raise his hands and feet to Celtic players at Ibrox back in December.
Here’s what Clark told the Herald:
“It is not a case of marking cards, but we as referees would not be fulfilling our responsibilities if we didn’t look ahead to games and think about the tactics which might be employed, both legitimate and illegitimate. Or where the flashpoints are likely to be. If I was looking at an Old Firm line up and I knew, for example, that Lorenzo Amoruso and Chris Sutton were going to be in direct contact with each other, then I knew I might have to alter my positioning slightly, be ten yards closer to them when the ball is played up.
“The same with Neil Lennon and Barry Ferguson or Alan Thompson or Fernando Ricksen. Referees have to be aware of that, or previous history between two players the last time around. You can’t go into games like this other than with your eyes wide open. If you don’t, you can be caught half a second short and that can make all the difference in an Old Firm game.”
Celtic could go thirteen points clear at the top of the table with a win on Sunday which would propel the club within touching distance of the title. A strong referee is needed for the game.