By Ben Wild

20th Mar, 2021 | 10:05am

Exclusive: Hackett claims PL refs should officiate Rangers v Celtic clashes

We’re delighted to welcome former Premier League referee Keith Hackett as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Rangers

Keith Hackett claims there should be a referee exchange programme between the SPFL and the Premier League ahead of this weekend’s Old Firm. 

Rangers travel to Celtic Park on Sunday looking to register a third win over the Hoops this season and the game is bound to have a few difficult moments for the referee to deal with.

Hackett admitted he’d have loved to referee an Old Firm game before floating the idea of a refereeing exchange programme.

“I’d have loved to have refereed an Old Firm derby,” Hackett exclusively told Ibrox News.

“I’ve said in the past that we ought to have exchange programmes where top Scottish Premiership referees come and referee in the Premier League and visa versa. 

“For the referee, the Old Firm is an important match. I’ve watched many of them and been really positive towards some of the refereeing taking place, remaining calm in a volatile situation.”

We can appreciate the merits of a scheme similar to the one Hackett proposes but there is a clear problem with this idea.

The refs in Scotland are shocking and the Premier League’s refs might be one of the few groups of officials who are worse.

Every week you read stories about how VAR doesn’t work and how a referee has made a terrible call so in our opinion they should stay south of the border.

Just take a look at Sky Sports’ weekly ref watch segment to see how bad those refs are on a regular basis.

We’d welcome any attempt to improve the refereeing in the SPFL though as this season we have seen some baffling decisions.

In other Rangers news, here are our player ratings from the loss to Slavia Prague.