Bonnyrigg Rose’s win over Broxburn Athletic on Saturday is under investigation by the Scottish Junior Football Association and the SFA after two contentious goals were awarded, and a stand-in linesman was sent off.
Although two assistant referees were appointed for the East Super League fixture at Albyn Park, the match took place without them, as referee Duncan Smith instead opted to use a committee member from each side to run the line.
Visitors Bonnyrigg won the match 3-2, but only after two potentially offside goals for either side had been awarded, and home secretary Jim Provan – acting as a linesman – had been ordered to leave the field by the ref after voicing his displeasure at Bonnyrigg’s equaliser.
Furious Broxburn boss Steve Pittman felt the game became a “farce” without two assistants, explaining that referee Smith had told him that he chose to go without the two appointed assistant referees.
He said: “The referee told us before the game that he had a chance of getting linesmen, but said ‘I don’t need them.’ He made a farce of the game.
“He made three major calls during the game. Our first goal was tight, but their goal was three or four yards offside and another one, one of our players was going through, three yards onside, but he gave offside.
“I don’t think anybody in the ground thought their first goal was onside.”
Bonnyrigg striker Steven Hislop, who put his side level at 1-1 and scored a second to put Rose ahead in the second half, said he felt sorry for the referee.
“It’s a thankless task for officials. They are only doing their jobs.
“I can assure you, players make more mistakes on the park than refs and linesmen do and we certainly don’t get as much abuse as them.”
Tom Johnston, the SJFA secretary, admitted that Super League games should always have two assistant referees, but said availability sometimes means otherwise.
He said: “Subject to availability there should be two linesmen, but I know the SFA have a dearth of officials in the Edinburgh area.”