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TOP REF THOMSON QUITS

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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.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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