FORMER category one SFA referee Louis Thow told of his experience managing an Old Firm derby where a player claimed he had been shot in the backside by a supporter. 

The fixture involved Celtic and Rangers reserve teams who locked horns at Parkhead in 1978, the day after a first-team match between the two rivals had taken place across the city at Ibrox. 

Former Ayr United stalwart Eric Morris ran over to Thow in agony before claiming he had been hit in the rear end with a pellet gun. 

The play was halted while Thow and his officials discussed with police and both managers over what action to take, but after further examination, no weapons were found inside the stadium. 

“The day after that match at Ibrox, I got a call from the SFA, this time from Peter Donald, who asked me if I was available to do another Old Firm reserve match as part of the same team of officials who had done the game at Ibrox,” recalled Thow. “They had obviously thought that we did alright, so we went along to Parkhead and this time there was an incident that I’ll not forget. 

“It was just before half-time, when Rangers’ Eric Morris, an Ayrshire lad who never really made it at Ibrox but went on to a good Junior career, ran up to me. ‘I’ve been shot!’ he told me. ‘What do you mean, shot?’ I asked, to which he replied, ‘in my arse.’ ‘Are you taking the mick Eric?’ I asked and being assured that he wasn’t I realised that I needed to investigate this alleged assault.  

“The idea that someone had managed to get a weapon into ground was obviously very worrying. I got the managers out of the dugout, told the police who were there and then we had to investigate the source of Eric’s pain... we found nothing and the game proceeded, fortunately, without further incident.” 

Thow was speaking to Alastair Blair in his book STOP THE GAME: WE’RE GOING TO ARREST THE GOALKEEPER; Scottish Football Referees and the influence of Scotland on the Laws of the Game. This book is available to purchase online HERE.