Ross County manager John Hughes has highlighted preferential treatment towards Celtic and Rangers by the SFA in a bizarre rant.

The Premiership boss has been left furious with the standard of officiating in Scotland this season. This comes after Brian Rice launched an incredible rant as he claimed his club was receiving nothing from referees [Daily Record].

This is something County boss Hughes feels is rife amongst the lower clubs in the league. However, his biggest problem appears to be with the distribution of where certain referees are sent compared to others.

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He’s been speaking about what he believes is discrimination against County in particular. And the former Celtic man has decided to bring his former club into his arguement.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Hughes said: “It shouldn’t be going on, we are in the 21st century. That is not equality, that is rules for one and rules for others.

“We need to highlight that, you can’t get away with that. I am at the same table as Celtic and Rangers and I play to the same rules but we are treated differently, that has to be exposed.

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“You have to ask the reason why. They might say he is practising but that is discriminating against my club.”


Celtic games certainly aren’t refereed to an elite standard

There are a few points that need tackled here.

First off – it’s not as if Celtic games are refereed to an elite standard. Are we honestly going to say that Willie Collum, Bobby Madden, John Beaton etc get the vast majority of decisions right? We could have a scroll the length of Sauchiehall street full of complaints regarding decisions they’ve missed.

Secondly, referees coming through the ranks need to start somewhere. Ross County had Craig Napier in charge of their recent clash at St Johnstone. He’s refereed them three times this season but has never refereed a Celtic or Rangers match. This is the kind of stuff Hughes is going on about.

Celtic Neil Lennon

John Hughes isn’t happy with rookie refs taking charge of his games / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But there has to be an acknowledgement from smaller clubs in the league that these referees need to be thrown in at lesser games first. There’s going to be lesser quality on the pitch during St Johnstone vs Ross County than if Rangers are playing Celtic. In fact there’s a monumental difference.

Referees have to be able to work up to that standard. Prove themselves at lesser matches before they can referee the bigger sides. Just because County are in the Premiership doesn’t mean they’re operating with Celtic or Rangers. Both clubs are still on a different planet quality-wise. They’re not direct rivals with either side, and the league table shows that.

But again, it’s not as if “elite” referees at the top end of Scottish football regularly impress either. There’s a poor standard of officiating in Scotland overall. This looks, from the outside anyway, to be a convenient excuse for managers whose clubs aren’t doing too well.

In other news, we discuss why Celtic are right to take their time over their Eddie Howe/Director of Football dilemma.

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