FORMER grade 3 linesman David Gray has told of the time he disallowed a Rangers goal for offside during an Old Firm match and sparked a reaction from former Ibrox chairman David Murray. 

“One of the disadvantages of being a referee is that not only do people recognise you from the television, they also see your picture in the papers.” Gray recalls and he has kept a copy of one such photo, from a Celtic vs Rangers game.  

At that time, he was working for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries, who just happened to sponsor both halves of the Old Firm. Consequently, Gray's wife May was a guest in the Rangers directors’ box, sitting next to the Ibrox chairman, David Murray.  

During the game, David disallowed a Rangers’ goal for offside. The press photo has several Rangers’ players – notably Ian Ferguson – ‘remonstrating with him.’ May, who at her own admission knows almost nothing about football, turned to David Murray to ask what had happened.  

“I think your husband has just ruined the game!” replied the former Ibrox chairman. 

Gray also recalled a match where he was running the line for referee Alistair Hewitt in the final game of the season at Parkhead: a match that Celtic needed to win to become champions. 

“I was on the stand-side line: over on the far side was another linesman, who will remain anonymous but who had three brothers who were all die-hard Celtic fans. Before the match, we discussed how they would escape the hordes who would undoubtedly invade the pitch if Celtic won the league.  

“Alistair told us that he would make sure he was near the tunnel and would pick up the ball before he blew the final whistle, to signal to his linesmen that the game was about to end.  

“Davie and I will make a run for it. You (indicating the other linesman) – well, you can, er, good luck!”  

In the event, all went to plan. Clark and Hewitt made it safely to the referee’s dressing room but after a few minutes the other linesman hadn’t turned up. They waited a few minutes longer, but still no sign. A full eight minutes passed before their colleague appeared.  

“What happened?” he was asked. “I was dashing across the pitch when my brothers appeared, grabbed me and took me back to the terracing where the fans were celebrating like crazy. It took me some time to escape…”

Gray was speaking to Alastair Blair in his book STOP THE GAME: WE’RE GOING TO ARREST THE GOALKEEPER; Scottish Football Referees and the influence of Scotland on the Laws of the Game. This book is available to purchase online HERE