Hackett: FA and SFA told to 'get heads together' for ref exchange after Celtic v Rangers controversy

Keith Hackett has suggested the top officials in England and Scotland should be allowed to go on an “exchange programme” which would see England’s best referees oversee games like Rangers v Celtic.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Premier League referee revealed he would have loved to officiate in an Old Firm clash during his illustrious career.

Rangers and Celtic met each other in a competitive game for the 424th time on Sunday as they played out a 1-1 draw.

Usually a fierce encounter, this weekend’s clash saw just four yellow cards handed out and Hackett has suggested the low-key nature of the game was because it was behind-closed-doors.

He told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “The thing that I really liked was the captain of Celtic, Scott Brown, prior to kick-off in the warm-up going over to Glen Kamara and offering his support.

“I thought that was unusual in an Old Firm derby. Perhaps the one thing that I recognised is that there wasn’t as much passion in that game because there were no fans.

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“That’s what I’m missing. I’m a referee and I like the game, don’t get me wrong, and I want it to be played fairly.

“But it’s a completely different game when you’ve got fans in the stadium and you’re playing that Old Firm derby.

“It’s a game that, over the years, I’ve watched and, particularly when I was an active referee, I always thought ‘when are the English FA and Scottish FA, going to get their heads together and come up with an exchange programme. When can an English referee go up and have the opportunity of refereeing that game.’

“When you look back Scotland have had some terrific referees that could have come down and refereed a derby game in England. But it isn’t going to happen.”

In other news, Danny Mills has ripped into the “hopeless” odds-on favourite for the Celtic manager’s job and labelled him “the second-worst Premier League manager ever”.