Portuguese refs refuse to break scottish strike
THE saga of the Scottish referees' strike acquired more twists than a distorted corkscrew last night as two Portuguese match officials -- part of the international group assembled by the Scottish FA to play the SPL games on schedule -- followed the lead of their Polish counterparts and headed home.
Cosme Machado, who was to have been in charge at today's Hibs v St Johnstone fixture and fourth official for Kilmarnock v Hearts tomorrow, arrived at Glasgow Airport just as the SFA published his name on the list of appointments.
However, no sooner had he emerged from the arrivals gate than he made his way back to departures, along with assistant referee Inacio Pereira.
The SFA nevertheless insisted that today's four SPL fixtures and the two listed for tomorrow will go ahead as planned, with replacement officials on hand.
Alain Hamer of Luxembourg, who was in charge of Scotland's World Cup qualifier against Norway in Oslo last year -- which ended in a crushing 4-0 defeat after they had been reduced to 10 men -- will referee Celtic's match against Inverness Caley Thistle this afternoon and also tomorrow's lunchtime kick-off between Dundee United and Rangers at Tannadice, which is due to be televised.
Hamer is known as an official who reaches readily for his notebook and Tartan Army fans will have no difficulty recollecting that he cautioned Gary Caldwell twice in as many minutes in Oslo.