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Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Saturday, 7 June 2008 17:20 UK

Sports psychologists to aid refs

SFA head of referees Donald McVicar
McVicar is confident about the future of refereeing in Scotland

Scotland's top referees will be advised by a sports psychologist as they prepare for the new season.

The SFA's head of referees, Donald McVicar, believes all officials can benefit from the expertise of the University of Stirling's John Mathers.

"We've been trying to incorporate it at many levels but from now on we want to incorporate it for top referees," McVicar told BBC Scotland.

"We're looking for him to work with referees and give them ideas."

However, Mathers will not be reporting back to the SFA with recommendations for individual refs.

"He's starting off with group work and then he'll trim it down to individuals," McVicar added on Radio Scotland's Summer Sportsound programme.

"What he talks about with individuals will be between themselves. It's not something he's going to report back on and give us a resume of what's happening.

"We had the referees together in February and we had very positive feedback from them.

"Some might not want use it as often as others, but I think they can all take something from what is said."

A number of last season's high-profile incidents brought referees under scrutiny and several managers were sanctioned for criticising officials.

"We're always going to be subject to criticism from various levels," said McVicar.

Mike McCurry and Craig Levein
Craig Levein and Mike McCurry face up at Ibrox

"I think these things go in cycles. I don't think it's as bad a season as has been portrayed, but there have been high-profile incidents where we could've done better."

Three of Scotland's referees - Alan Freeland, John Underhill and Kenny Clark - will retire from their roles this summer, but McVicar has high hopes for some of the country's younger referees.

"We've got a lot of young bucks coming through who are getting really specialist attention, being fast-tracked and they are doing well," he said. "We're confident for the future.

"You're always going to lose refs because of age, that's just inevitable.

"The whole point about referee development is making sure that you're covering for the future and that's what we're doing."


see also
Levein waits for outburst outcome
03 Jun 08 |  Dundee Utd
Hughes angry with SFA ref choice
26 Apr 08 |  Falkirk
Dons' Diamond criticises referee
20 Apr 08 |  Aberdeen


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