DOUGLAS Ross has said he would give up football refereeing if he became First Minister as he wouldn’t want to add politics to an already “hostile and difficult environment” at games.

Mr Ross, who has kept up his ssecond job throughout his political career, said security concerns meant he would have to “hang up his boots” if he succeeded in his goal of replacing Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House.

However he said he would keep running the line at domestic and international matches as the new Scottish Tory leader, despite inevitably bringing more political baggage onto the pitch.

Speaking to the media after meeting Chancellor Rishi Sunak near Glasgow, the Moray MP said: “I’ve made it clear I want to continue refereeing, however that is something I plan to do as leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

“I can officially announce that if I am elected First Minister of Scotland -  much to the great delight of football fans across Scotland, and this may help me get to that ultimate office -  then I would give up refereeing if I was First Minister.”

He went on: “There is in my view enough pressure on the clubs, the match commanders, police etc, to ensure everything is done as safely as possible within our stadiums,

“I think an added element of potentially one of the match officials being the First Minister of Scotland does add unnecessary strain to an already sometimes hostile and difficult environment.

“I think it would make sense, at that stage, for me to hang up my boots and continue to support Scottish football.”

The 37-year-old added: “I would still be a strong advocate for Scottish refereeing. But the time would be for someone younger to come in and take my place.”