SCOTLAND’s top referee Willie Collum has revealed he’s been on the verge of QUITTING due to the vile abuse both he and his family receive on a daily basis.

The whistler made his top-flight debut in April 2006 and he has gone on to officiate at the top level both in the Champions League and on the international stage at the European Championships.

But despite reaching the top of his profession, Collum admits sickening taunts from the touchlines have brought him close to exiting the game for good.

He said: "There needs to be an acceptance that we are ordinary people, with families. It worries me when I see referees receiving threats. 

"Some of the abuse we are subjected to in stadiums isn't right. When it becomes personal it's a worry.

“We need to respect people in the public spotlight. We have families and also need to hold down a full-time job.

"Who does a referee turn to for support? It can be very lonely. Yes, we have colleagues we can turn to but it can often be your wife that you turn to on a Saturday night. 

"I've thought about quitting lots of times. My wife has said to me many times that maybe it's time to give it up. That could be down to the media stress being too much.

"I never came into refereeing to be in the media spotlight. I don't think referees should have a profile where it's some kind of celebrity status. 

"I've had some difficult times and you worry about the negative affect it has on your own well-being and the well-being of my family.”

READ MORE: Willie Collum rubbishes claims that referees are out to make deliberate decision against certain teams

He added: "There are times you come home after a game and it's a waiting game for four or five hours to find a clip to see if you have been right or not with a decision. It can make for a long night of tension.

"Other times you know things are fine and you don't need to hide behind the couch and you can relax with your family  and enjoy being forced into watching the Saturday night telly. 

"Not Christmas there, but the Christmas before, I had a day off and went into Glasgow with my wife for some Christmas shopping for the kids. 

"Within 10 metres of getting out the car and walking towards a shopping centre, three or four guys had given me the most ridiculous abuse.

"It frightened my wife and she was really upset. That trip ended in five minutes. We were back in the car and up the road. 

"When mistakes happen there isn't much forgiveness in society.”

The Lockdown Tactics is a brand new podcast, hosted by former Scotland stars Robert Snodgrass and Kris Boyd. Every week TLT will interview big names with the core focus being on mental health and well-being.

It's chosen charity partner is The Kris Boyd Charity.

To watch the full interview with Willie, go to YouTube and the various TLT social platforms. It will be available from 4pm today (Tuesday).