McDonald refuses to quit

01 November 2010 10:38

Referee Dougie McDonald insists he will not quit despite being warned by the Scottish Football Association over his inaccurate report of Celtic's rescinded penalty at Tannadice.

McDonald claims he only lied to referees supervisor Jim McBurnie and Celtic manager Neil Lennon to protect assistant Steven Craven. Craven soon resigned amid the furore over McDonald's decision to order a drop ball soon after pointing to the spot when Dundee United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis challenged Gary Hooper.

"Stevie had never seen eye to eye with Hugh (Dallas, SFA head of referees) and the SFA," McDonald told the Daily Record. "But I've always had a good relationship with Steve and I don't believe he was trying to harm me when he had his say. But he seems happy to take me down with him. However, I haven't even considered resigning. I am one of the country's top referees and I am a strong character."

McDonald's report claimed Craven had called him over to dispute the decision, but an SFA inquiry discovered the referee had immediately feared a mistake had been made and changed his mind after approaching Craven unprompted for clarification.

"It was of no benefit to me to come up with our story and I don't know why I agreed to it," McDonald added.

"I was being supportive of Stevie."

McDonald believes he was right to reverse his decision but regrets the invention of the story in the moments after Celtic's 2-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win on October 17.

He said: "After the match we were in our dressing-room and Stevie pulled out the wire on his communication device before removing my earpiece. Then he asked 'what are we going to say to the supervisor?' I just said 'I don't care what we say to him. Just say that you called out Dougie! Dougie! and that I came over to you'."

After telling McBurnie and Lennon the false account, McDonald says he regretted the decision and came clean to Dallas.

"Hugh wasn't happy and he encouraged me to tell the truth," McDonald added. "I don't think Stevie was too happy. He felt a dressing-room agreement had been breached. I got the impression he felt I was trying to claim the credit for rectifying my initial error. But I had nothing to gain from doing this."

Source: PA