Alex McLeish has slammed the treatment of referees in Scotland and believes it will be "horrendous" if this weekend's matches are affected by strike action.
Scotland's category one referees confirmed they would be standing by their decision to withdraw their labour this weekend. All matches in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and the Alba Cup final are expected to be played after the Scottish Football Association announced plans to bring in officials from other European nations.
But matches in the Scottish Football League could be called off, and former Scotland and Rangers boss McLeish, now in charge of Birmingham, has urged for the dispute to be resolved "for the sake of the game" north of the border.
He said: "It is pretty sad that it has come to this. The Scottish refs deserve better treatment. People up in Scotland have got to get a grip of themselves and stop slaughtering them every week.
"I know referees have been hammered since time began and it will continue until time ends. But we should know when to draw a line - and we've gone over that line."
McLeish added: "If the strike goes ahead, it will be horrendous. It is horrible for the fans, horrible for everyone concerned with Scottish football.
"The fans have paid money for tickets and don't know if they are going to get a game this weekend and there is the travelling side as well.
"It is getting close to Saturday and how can they arrange and organise things when they don't know what is happening?
"It is not for me to tell people the way to do it but they've got to settle this issue for the sake of the game.
"I know refs have got sympathy from other parts of the world so I would say 'give them a break and a bit of backing'."