TOP referee Craig Thomson is quitting after almost two decades in the game.
The FIFA-listed match official’s final game was Celtic’s 2-1 victory over Hearts at Parkhead on Sunday when the champions celebrated their eighth successive title.
Coincidentally, Thomson was also in charge of the Hoops’ explosive Scottish Cup semi-final encounter against Aberdeen at Hampden last month when he red-carded two Dons offenders as the holders won 3-0 to set up the showpiece showdown with Craig Levein’s Tynecastle side on Saturday.
He didn’t hesitate to issue a second yellow card to defender Dom Ball following his aerial assault on Ryan Christie that left the young midfielder with multiple facial injuries that brought his season to a halt.
Lewis Ferguson followed in the second-half after a wayward over-the-top challenge on Tom Rogic that brought a straight red.
RED MIST…Craig Thomson sends off Aberdeen’s Dom Ball for the foul that flattened Ryan Christie.
The 46-year-old whistler, speaking to the BBC, said: “I’ve enjoyed 19 years as a Category One referee.
“It’s time to let younger refs come through and maybe see if I can reduce my golf handicap.”
One of the most amusing anecdotes in his lengthy career came a few years ago when he booked a Hearts player in a game against Rangers.
“Name?” asked the ref.
“Craig Thomson,” replied his namesake.