By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football correspondent
Scotland's referees are currently delivering more cards than a postman at Christmas.
But is the outbreak of yellow fever - with a few red blotches - totally out of order?
Reasoned argument would suggest that if they can't be right all the time then they sure can't be wrong in every decision either.
And their gaffer, Hugh Dallas, is right to suggest that players are culpable.
Steve Conroy sends off Kilmarnock's Manual Pascali against Rangers
Don't you just feel that some player/assassins are privately thinking "it should have been an actor's life for me" as they portray the face of perfect innocence, followed by a wrinkled look of anguish, for a booking which came in the wake of a tackle so high it threatened to perform a vasectomy?
But there is still too much I don't comprehend about the world in which whistlers live.
SPL managers agreed a vow of silence when it came to criticising officials and their decisions which, admittedly, is particularly bad for my side of the business.
Another rant, another mortgage payment for the football journalist.
But it is short-changing fans too.
Football is a game of debate and argument, seldom an exact science. If a dodgy - or indeed brave and correct - decision by an official altered a match and possibly a season, do supporters not have the right to hear their gaffer's view on it all?
Dallas calls for players to do more
It's a protection racket with a difference. Managers can get fired into their own players, the opposition and indeed the media but dare to slag off a ref and you are called to the Tower.
Well, the twin towers at Hampden, actually.
It's an absolute nonsense. Pravda, the official organ of the SFA.
And here's a curious thing. Mr Dallas, a very nice man, insists managers should register their unhappiness by speaking to the SFA, not the media. Hugh did this by, eh, telling the media.
Meanwhile, with the full wind of Fifa behind them, the association is desperate to fast-track young vibrant officials to the top of their profession.
But as they surf to the top with the spinnaker billowing, the wake is rocking all sorts of boats.
Experienced referees are being beached and I cannot see that it is right.
Charlie Richmond and Callum Murray - two of our better match officials over the last few seasons - are being whipped off the Fifa list at Christmas to make way for Steven McLean and Bobby Madden, real apprentice referees at SPL level.
Richmond is 41 and was expecting another four years of globetrotting before the compulsory retirement at that level of 45 summers.
Now Charlie will be able to drive home to Auchinleck after every match at which he officiates. And that's an awful shame in more ways than one.
There is no upper level for players to chuck it, so why should the clock determine the ability of referees?
It's athletes they want these days, men in black who can outrun deer. But that's wrong.
Willie Young couldn't have outrun an old dear - not at the beginning of his career never mind the end - but he understood the game and players. And he knew how to communicate.
Conroy sends Rangers star Pedro Mendes packing at Rugby Park
Before him the legendary Tom "Tiny" Wharton - the last man as far as I can remember to officiate while wearing a blazer - would have needed a taxi to leave the centre circle, but he strolled through matches...literally, most of the time.
Mr Dallas and his cronies judge officials differently from fans, managers, players and the media and maybe they are right and we are all wrong.
But I'll be honest. I cannot see that the standard of the man in the middle has improved at all since the retirement of Hugh himself - maybe the best referee this country has ever produced.
And putting match officials out to graze when they still have plenty to offer is surely pointless. Richmond, for example, will be at St Mirren v Celtic on Saturday, his first SPL game this season.
At least Gus MacPherson can't complain about his club being a training ground for young inexperienced officials this time. But he did have a point.
MacPherson is, of course, public enemy number one at referee headquarters at castle Hampden.
At least the Christmas postie's bag will be one card lighter this year.
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