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Ross County boss John Hughes backs Brian Rice’s outburst on refereeing standards as he hits out at ‘patronising’ officials chief Crawford Allan

Brian Rice (left) with John Hughes.
Brian Rice (left) with John Hughes.

Ross County manager John Hughes insists refereeing is far from consistent across the Premiership and agrees with Hamilton Accies boss Brian Rice’s belief discussing incidents with head of referees Crawford Allan is a pointless exercise.

Rice hit out at the standard of refereeing in games involving his club following Saturday’s Scottish Cup exit to St Mirren and he has found support from Hughes, who was his manager when the duo worked together at Caley Thistle.

Hughes said: “I haven’t spoken to Chipper about it, but he has 100 percent my backing and a little bit more.

“I agree with him when he says Crawford Allan, you are wasting your time. That is why I would never phone him, to be patronised.  You are having a laugh.

“When you phone up, what a phone call.  You are looking for Jeremy Beadle (the late hidden camera show presenter) to jump out. I am serious you are looking for Jeremy Beadle to jump out.

“You are on the phone saying is this for real? I have never been patronised so much in all my life. I am 56.

“I have played the game and I have been brought up with my gut, my character, seen it, know it and seen it with your own eyes and you are getting that on the phone, it is embarrassing.

“Brian has had a rant and I have his back that is for sure.”

Hughes is equally aggrieved at refereeing decisions which have gone against his side and believes the standard and approachability of officials needs to be addressed.

He said: “I agree small clubs get nothing.

“We could be sitting with a few more points, because I think we have had a couple of horrendous refereeing decisions.  The one against Hibs with John Beaton (where Martin Boyle didn’t receive a second yellow card following a clear dive).

Hibernian’s Martin Boyle claims for a second penalty during the Scottish Premiership match between Ross County and Hibs last month.

“With the penalty against Hibs, you are having a laugh. The penalty against St Mirren, you are having a laugh. They were absolutely horrendous decisions.

“Going full-time would help them, but one or two of them need a personality bypass because there is no talking to them.

“They put that wee uniform on and they are running about out there – just calm down.  Take a notch off your jockstrap.

“A bit about being a referee is about having a bit of banter, your people skills and the way you conduct yourself.”

Hughes believes the standard of officiating differs across the Premiership and claims the leading clubs are given preferential treatment when it comes to referee appointments.

He said: “It shouldn’t be going on, we are in the 21st Century. How can I be in a league of 12 and it gets splits where you can referee that team up there, but you can’t referee that team up there?

“That is not equality, that is rules for one and rules for others.

“I am at the same table as Celtic and Rangers and I play to the same rules, but we are treated differently, that has to be exposed.

“I asked the question of a certain referee about his team. I was told we don’t ask our referees what team they support.

“Because half of them wouldn’t be able to referee Celtic and Rangers; that is the reason why.”

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