Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
FLAG FURY IN ROVERS WIN
City protest sees game go on with one linesman
Albion Rovers’ league opener with Edinburgh City was halted for 25 minutes on Saturday when the sides clashed over who would run the line – after referee Stewart Luke pulled up injured.
In a bizarre moment that almost saw unstripped Rovers player Max Wright became a makeshift linesman, furious City boss Gary Naysmith stepped in to make sure that didn’t happen.
With one of the assistant referees taking over from injured ref Luke, that left just one other assistant as there is no fourth official at lower league matches.
Wright grabbed the flag and offered his services to ensure both sides had a ‘linesman’, but Naysmith refused to allow that to happen and the game was eventually allowed to continue with just one linesman.
Rovers were already 2-0 up at the time and the scoreline remained the same by fulltime, but boss Brian Reid said the drama left his side at a disadvantage.
He said: “Circumstances changed in the second half with not having a linesman on our side, which gave us a disadvantage, and not enough has been said about that, but I’m delighted with a good home win and a clean sheet.
“I’ve been involved in the game when there’s only been a referee and no linesman, but I’ve never had it that somebody couldn’t be at the side.
“It actually was to our disadvantage and that helped Edinburgh in the second half.
“I don’t know whether they should have tossed a coin to see what team had the linesman and which one didn’t.
“If you’ve ever played football and you’re a defender, you know that you’re reluctant to play a high line, because there’s no linesman to give you offside, so you go deeper and deeper into your own half.
“That doesn’t allow us to get against them and get on the front foot, so it played into their hands a wee bit and that’s now they came into the game in the second half a wee bit.
“But it never affected the game, we were just glad to see the game out and get the result. It was a good day for us.”
During Saturday’s game Rovers’ official Twitter account posted: “Madness at The Reigart Stadium. The referee is injured and can’t continue. Our player Max Wright looks like he will be the ‘official’ running the line at the stand side... Gary Naysmith is erm raging.”