By Doug Ward

16th Nov, 2021 | 3:12pm

Rangers namechecked in politician scandal, ex-PL referee hits back

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

Keith Hackett has hit back at criticism of Douglas Ross after the assistant referee, who’s also a politician, was late at declaring his earnings.

According to the Daily Record, the Scottish Conservatives leader was late in declaring his earnings from 26 football matches, including a match between Rangers and Motherwell which led to him missing a COVID summit last December.

After making himself aware of the part of the sleaze scandal that involved Ross, Hackett defended the SFA official and claimed that it’s likely no malice was involved in his actions and it was simply down to a cause of poor administration.

Speaking to Ibrox News, ex-Premier League referee Hackett said: “I don’t get wrapped up in politics in that sense but I listen and I watch. I listened to the Scottish Minister’s question and answer session and I found that interesting.

Douglas Ross was fairly vociferous and put forward some fairly strong questions.

I think it’s great that someone of his stature is serving the community, not only as a politician but as a match official.

He wouldn’t be on that list if he wasn’t good enough. In terms of administration, okay, it appears as if he’s made an error and it’s been brought into focus, no doubt, by the opposition.

But ultimately, he’s an intelligent guy and I don’t think his integrity is in question or in doubt. He’s made an admin error.

I know it’s a principle but in terms of his earnings as a FIFA international assistant referee, it’s not a mind-boggling sum.

Boris Johnson’s party is facing all sorts of allegations right now [Guardian] and Scottish football has been thrown into the spotlight due to Ross’ failure to declare his earnings from being a match official here.

In other Rangers news, this ex-SFA coach could be in charge of the Gers when they take on Hibernian on Sunday.