Portuguese, Polish refs pull out of Scottish games
A group of Portuguese referees has joined Polish match officials in withdrawing from plans to replace striking referees in this weekend's Scottish Premier League matches.
Poland's football association backed out of an agreement reached Thursday to send 12 match officials to Scotland to cover for referees who went on strike to protest clubs' criticism of their recent performances.
The Scottish Football Association said Friday that all six topflight matches were still on, although a First Division game between Greenock Morton and Falkirk has been postponed.
But later Friday, Portuguese referees who had been brought in had also returned home. They were due to officiate in Hibernian's home game against St Johnstone on Saturday and the match on Sunday between Motherwell and Hearts.
''The club have been given assurances by the SFA that the game will still go ahead,'' Motherwell said. ''They are working furiously to ensure that no game will come under threat.
''Motherwell manager Craig Brown and the players will be in training for the game tomorrow and preparing for the match as normal.''
Israeli officials will run Saturday's matches between Hamilton and St. Mirren, and Kilmarnock and Aberdeen.
A delegation from Luxembourg led by referee Alain Hamer will take charge of the weekend's biggest matches. The officials will run Celtic's home match against Inverness on Saturday and Rangers' visit to Dundee United the following day.
Two Scottish Cup third-round replays involving lower-ranked sides have also been called off.