George Salmond to referee Rangers v Brechin City

The experienced former Scotland cricket captain will oversee Rangers’ televised League One opener at Ibrox.

George Salmond referee (Falkirk v Queen of South - 25th Sept 2015)
Experienced: Salmond regularly officiates in the Scottish Football League despite being eligible to referee in the top-flight (Picture from BBC ALBA)

REFEREE George Salmond will take charge of Rangers’ opening match of the new Scottish League One season this weekend against Brechin City at Ibrox.   

The 44-year-old will oversee the Third Division champions in their first league game of 2013-14 in the third tier as the championship flag will be unfurled in front of nearly 50,000 before the visit of Jim Weir’s Brechin in the eagerly-awaited lunchtime kick-off.

It will be Salmond’s second match of the new campaign having officiated Berwick Rangers’ 3-2 win over Livingston in the Challenge Cup first round at Shielfield Park, in which he handed out three yellows and one red card.

Although, he missed out on a Scottish League Cup first round game but was fourth official at Celtic Park last Saturday as Celtic began their Scottish Premiership title defence with a late 2-1 victory over Ross County.

Dundee-born Salmond – yet to receive a major honour as an official – was in the middle for 27 matches in all competitions last term, handing out 98 yellow cards, a massive 15 red cards and awarding nine penalties.

He was criticised for a poor display in Inverness’s 1-1 SPL draw with Aberdeen in September which saw him dismiss Caley Thistle midfielder Owain Tudur Jones and Dons skipper Russell Anderson in the second half before giving the hosts a dubious penalty.

As a result, it was his only top-flight match of the campaign, spending the rest of the time in the lower leagues with younger referees such as Steven McLean and Bobby Madden preferred instead.

Salmond took charge of Rangers’ Ramsdens Cup clash with Brechin last July in their first match since being placed in the bottom tier, dishing out five yellow cards in their 2-1 triumph at Glebe Park.

He then handled two further Gers games – in a 6-2 win at East Stirlingshire where he gave three penalties and a red card, as well as a 4-0 home victory over Glasgow rivals Queen’s Park in February.

His only other Brechin match of 2012-13 came in a 1-0 Second Division reverse to eventual champions Queen of the South at Palmerston Park in December.

The Category One official is a former Scottish cricket captain, making 146 full senior caps as a right-handed batsman and right-arm medium-fast bowler having progressed through the Under-16 and Under-19 ranks before taking up the whistle.

He passed an initial course in 2001 and gained promotion to the Scottish Football League five years later.

Salmond became an SPL referee in January 2011, when receiving his first appointment for a match between St Johnstone and Inverness.

In addition, the official is now a Deputy Headteacher at junior school George Watson’s College in Edinburgh.

He will be assisted on the day by linesmen Tom Murphy and Duncan Smith, while Don Robertson will be the fourth official.

The match will be shown live by newly-launched broadcaster BT Sport this Saturday lunchtime (August 10), kicking off at Ibrox from 12:45 BST.

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