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Ross County boss John Hughes wants full-time referees in Scotland

John Hughes File Photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Ross County boss John Hughes called for referees in Scottish football to be full-time following Saturday’s frustrating penalty decision in the 1-0 defeat by St Mirren.

Greg Aitken awarded the home side a spot-kick nine minutes from time for a challenge by Staggies defender Leo Hjelde on Saints substitute Collin Quaner and Jamie McGrath converted for the only goal of the game.

The defeat left the visitors in 10th place in the Scottish Premiership, one point above Saturday’s opponents Kilmarnock with a game in hand over the Ayrshire outfit, and two points ahead of bottom side Hamilton having played a game more.

Hughes remains adamant that it was “never a penalty” and he offered one solution for improvement on decisions.

The former defender, who started his career at Berwick Rangers before going on to play for Swansea, Celtic and Hibernian, among others, said: “I think it was (Aberdeen boss) Derek McInnes who said it, the referees need a hand.

“We are all in the game together and referees and officials all need a hand.

“I would say full-time. I am only talking through my experience of being a part-time footballer, when I went full-time and was doing it day in, day out you became a better footballer.

“You become a better athlete because you are training every day.

“For our brand in Scotland and where we want to go, the referees have to go full-time.

“But it is done and dusted, forget it. Let’s get down to training, we have big games coming up.”