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History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917
Chapter L.—Queen's Park and Referees

The referee question was always a sore point with the Queen's Park and Hampden habitues, as it was felt, early in the connection of the club with the League, that that measure of justice which should have resulted from the strict impartiality of the officials conducting the game was not always forthcoming, as referees were believed to lean to the side of the more powerful professional teams, else their occupation as League referees was gone. This became a fixed tradition at Hampden Park, especially after Mr. Tom Robertson, of Queen's Park (the half-back), whose fairness and impartiality as a referee are recognised all over the three kingdoms, was practically boycotted by certain League clubs, for an act of characteristic firmness. The referees employed by the League at first were not always competent, and shortly after the Queen's Park had joined the League, some little trouble occurred at Hampden Park through the hostility of the crowd, caused by a decision of the referee, Heart of Midlothian, the opposing club, suffering some inconvenience therefrom. The Hearts complained to the League, which enabled Mr. Geake, the representative of the Queen's Park on the League board, to raise the question of the general incompetency of the referees sent out. This led to a revision of the roll of such officials, and an improvement all round. Referees were instructed to be severe on rough play on all occasions. Still the feelings of the Queen's Park sympathisers have often been harrowed since, by decisions which they declare robbed the club of victory, and, by consequence, reduced its standing on the League list, when points came to be totted up at the end of a season. The Queen's Park are not alone in this respect, and the lot of the referee is not a happy one. What was considered a bad case of obliquity of vision on the part of the referee at a League match at Dundee, 23rd September, 1905, was placed before the committee by Mr. John Liddell, who stated, that one of the Queen's Park players was kicked by an opponent while on the ground, and when in the act of rising, struck by the same Dundee player, resulting in a black eye. Though the referee, and a linesman, were close to where the incident took place, and should have seen the assault, neither of them took the slightest notice of the offences. The Queen's Park decided to lay the matter before the Scottish League. This would appear to be another instance of the timidity of referees in dealing with professional clubs, who formed the majority in the League, while the Queen's Park was only a unit in that body. A fair-minded and impartial referee should at least see that the weakest gets justice. To feel, on entering the field, that amateur players are heavily handicapped, is depressing and disheartening.

The crowd at Hampden aired their grievances against referees, by hostile demonstrations when decisions were given of which they did not approve, and one of the knights of the whistle complained to the Scottish League, condemning the attitude of the spectators towards him. Another case cropped up at the League match between Queen's Park and Dundee, played on Hampden Park, 14th March, 1908, when the referee reported to the Scottish Football Association the treatment he had received from the spectators, and,, after investigation, the club was ordered to post warning bills on the gates and stands at Hampden Park. The secretary wrote to the S.F.A. assuring that body of the club's continued support! Still these incidents were the outcome of the established belief held by Queen's Park supporters, that justice was not always blind, as administered by certain referees. The Queen's Park, on its part, decided to report to the S.F.A. and Scottish League, in future, all cases of incompetency on the part of referees. After the Glasgow Charity Cup final, 30th April, 1908, which Celtic won by 3-0, the Queen's Park reported the referee for his inefficient refereeing in that game. A letter was also sent to the Charity committee, expressing the dissatisfaction of the club at the play permitted, and the refereeing, in that final, and intimating that, unless the club could be assured of receiving-better treatment in future, it would require to seriously consider whether it would again take part in the competition. This threat, however, was not followed by action.

It came as rather a surprise to the Queen's Park committee that their complaint to the Scottish Football Association against the referee who had handled the game between Queen's Park and Clyde, 5th March, 1910, in, as they alleged, a most unsatisfactory and incompetent manner, should have fallen back on their own heads. The Asso-•ciation, having investigated fully the complaint, decided to take no action in the matter, so far as the referee was concerned, and fined the Q.P. 20, requesting payment at once. Naturally the secretary wrote to the S.F.A., inquiring for what offence the fine had been inflicted. A reply was received from Mr. M'Dowall, the secretary of the Association, referring the club to the referee's report on the matter. The Queen's Park paid, and there the affair ended. Up to the present, the committee are still at a loss to understand why their legitimate complaint resulted in their own condemnation and punishment. The real facts are, the referee reported to the Association that about twenty spectators came on the field, and were immediately put off by the police, and that a Clyde player had been kicked by a spectator, and one of the Queen's Park players had insulted two Clyde players, but had subsequently apologised. The council heard evidence, with the above result, the apology of the Queen's Park player being accepted. Strange that two of the players concerned should have met in a football regimental match in Prance. Notwithstanding this rebuff, the Queen's Park was not deterred from supporting a motion by Motherwell F.C. regarding refereeing, which was to be considered at the next meeting of the Scottish League, in November, 1911. To support Motherwell, the club brought before the notice of the Scottish League, the Scottish Asso-ciation, and the Referees Committee of that body, the failings of three referees in League games between Queen's Park, and Aberdeen, Rangers, and St. Mirren, on 11th, 18th, and 25th November, respectively. The first was reported as inefficient and physically unfit, the second did not take proper cognisance of rough and foul play, and the third had not acted when one of the Queen's Park players was kicked by a St. Mirren back, and had allowed the game to •continue six and a half minutes over time in the first half, during which a goal was scored against the Queen's Park. A wholesale order truly. The first tendered his resignation, the second had the complaint against him engrossed in the minutes, and the third explained and apologised for his mistake in time-keeping. These were the decisions of the Scottish League. This tilting at referees was not always so successful, as on the occasion of the League match against Airdrieonians, 30th November, 1912, the referee gave a penalty kick against Queen's Park which led to a scene, the crowd breaking in. Though this referee had been removed in the previous October from the Scottish Association's list of referees, for incompetency, yet he was considered good enough by the Scottish League to referee its matches. As the same official was to conduct another League game against Partick Thistle, at Firhill, on 21st December, Queen's Park being the other club, it was decided to report him to the Scottish League, and Association, requesting a change of official for the Firhill game. The result was, Queen's Park was censured for not preserving order, and instructed to post warning bills. Such are the troubles that afflict the just.

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