SFA backs ref after he overturned Celtic penalty

The Scottish Football Association ruled Friday that a referee was correct to overturn a penalty decision on the advice of the linesman who has since quit over the fallout from the incident.

Referee Dougie McDonald changed his mind on the award of a penalty to Celtic in an Oct. 17 Scottish Premier League match against Dundee United after linesman Steven Craven told him he did not think an offense had been committed.

The SFA said the referee’s match report "was not completed to the expected standard" but that he had acted correctly.

"It was important to thoroughly investigate the matter," SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said. "I am satisfied with the outcome of today’s meeting and the clarity of the findings."

McDonald told an SFA referee committee inquiry that he realized immediately he had made an error and that Craven’s advice confirmed his suspicion. He awarded a drop ball to restart the game, which Celtic won 2-1.

But Craven resigned after he and his family were abused by fans for his part in the incident.

"The pressure placed on referees has intensified in this country in recent years and the last few weeks have highlighted the immense strain placed on our top officials and their families," Scottish Senior Football Referees Association chairman Martin Cryans said.