By Harvey Byrne
John Hartson believes there is too much pressure on official Don Robertson, who is set to be an assistant referee for Rangrs’ clash against Celtic on Sunday.
The two Glasgow rivals are preparing to face each other at Hampden Park on Sunday for the Scottish Cup semi-final clash.
There is a lot of build-up for the important encounter and most of it is surrounding the players and coaches.
However, former Hoops striker Hartson believes Robertson should be kept well away from the Old Firm derby after being caught in the headlines for awarding Ross County a penalty against Celtic following a blatant dive from Alex Schalk just last week.
“I think there’s too much pressure,” told Hartson, as quoted by the Scotsman.
“Too much pressure for him, personally. I don’t know why he would want to do that. It’s a very delicate situation. He’s obviously feeling very embarrassed. If he’s a realist and he’s honest, I personally would just say ‘leave me out of that one’.
“Take yourself out of the fray. Put somebody else in. Why aren’t the referees protecting him? Why stick him into that big game, Celtic-Rangers? Take him out, let him go for lunch with his family on Sunday, give the guy a break. “Whoever organises the referees and the games that they get, may need to be looked at. I think as players we can get sent off, we can two-foot somebody get a straight red and you miss three games. A referee can cost a team a point or the title or cost a team a European place and he’s back in. Where’s the punishment? But I do appreciate it’s very hard for referees. I wouldn’t like to referee my boy’s under-13 game, because of the parents on the sidelines. You need the thickest skin out of anybody, and a big ego.”
The penalty last week ensured that Celtic were held to a 2-2 draw away at Ross County, but the Hoops have already won the Premiership title, meaning it had a reduced affect outside of the match.
However, both Rangers and Celtic fans will feel severely aggrieved if it is a refereeing error that decides the way of the Sunday clash with the experienced Willie Collum set to take charge in the centre.
A win for either team will see them make their way into the final of the competition and Celtic could complete the treble having already won the Premiership and Scottish League Cup this season.
In other Celtic news, Alex McLeish believes this Rangers team would beat the current Hoops side.