SCOTLAND'S leading referee Craig Thomson has given his backing to the SFA decision to change the rules on mistaken- identity red cards after being made to look foolish last season.

Thomson sent off Paul Paton instead of Calum Butcher in the heated Scottish Cup tie between Dundee United and Celtic.

Paton was exonerated on appeal but Butcher, under the previous regulations, was free to play the next game - which just happened to be the League Cup final against Celtic.

However, the anomaly was rectified at the SFA annual general meeting on June 9 and now mistaken-identity red cards will be transferred to the guilty party - as is the case in English football.

Thomson said: "It was a decision that we as a team should have got right but we got the wrong player. I realised right away after the game. It makes a lot of sense to transfer the red card to the guilty player and I know all the referees will be in favour of this."

That was probably the toughest moment of the season for Thomson but he said he got through it thanks to work with a sports psychologist who has been helping Scotland's top referees for five years.

He said: "I don't think it was preying on my mind. I have been in the game long enough to realise that you will make mistakes and that you don't dwell on it too much. It's the same during a game. If you make an incorrect decision and you dwell on it then the next decision will be even worse.

"The top referees in Scotland are fortunate that they work with sports psychologist John Mathers at Stirling University and on a personal level it has certainly helped me."

Thomson knows there were some high-profile mistakes last season - most notably the Josh Meekings handball in the Celtic-Inverness Scottish Cup semi-final which led to more calls for video officials.

He said: "I have changed my mind so many times. Sometimes I see a replay and I know right away that it would have cleared up an incident - like the Meekings handball. But we are in a type of game that's so fast, when do we use the video evidence or challenge a decision? We watch clips with players and they disagree with what I'm saying. Is it foolproof? I'm not sure. Other people will make the decision on whether it is introduced."

The 43-year-old also reckons the standard of refereeing in Scotland is at a good level - and that Scottish referees are more appreciated by players overseas.

"Generally, I think the standard of refereeing in Scotland is very high and I think you appreciate it even more when you go abroad," Thomson said. I have been lucky enough to have been involved in quite a few Champions League games and last weekend I covered Lithuania against Switzerland.

"The comments and praise you get from observers and delegates from other countries is very high because you are a Scottish referee.

"There were a few of the Lithuanian players who played in Scotland and they showed me good respect because we are of a higher standard than what they are used to. I think when you are in your own country, it's familiarity and some people remember wrong decisions but overall I feel we had a good season, although we can always improve and we are very conscious of that."

Thomson was overlooked for the World Cup in Brazil, but hopes to work at next year's European Championship in France, which would be his last major finals before retiral. He officiated at two group matches at Euro 2012 and said: "It's a big target for me. I was fortunate enough to be involved in 2008 as a fourth official and then as a referee in 2012 so 2016 is the nat-ural progression. There will be a lot of competition - I completely understand that - but I feel I'm refereeing well both domestically and in Uefa games.

"It was a big disappointment to me that I didn't go to the World Cup last year. It's fantastic to go to the Euros, so I will work hard to try to get there."