Former referee Conroy admits that he was ‘openly a Celtic supporter’

Steve Conroy has broken the great taboo and admitted that Scottish referees have favourite clubs.

For generations the myth has been spread by the media and authorities that match officials have a neutral love of the game, making decisions without fear or favour.

The reality is of course far different – a great number of leading referees come from the West of Scotland where two clubs have an over-reaching influence on the game.

Outside of Glasgow, supporters’ buses pile outside of towns across Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and the Lothians to travel to Parkhead and Ibrox on a fortnightly basis.

Anyone with an interest in football is well aware of the phenomenon – if they aren’t part of it they are certainly aware of it, whether in their social circles or work place.

Conroy came through the same system and broke the great taboo during an interview on Radio Scotland on Monday night

“We are all into refereeing because we like football. And in this part of the world most are going to support Celtic or Rangers,” the Daily Record¬†quoted him as saying.

“Why open yourself up to other possible criticisms – corruption, conspiracy theories – just by saying what team you support. I certainly never minded telling people who I support. It’s out there so nobody can say anything afterwards.”

Tellingly, he added: “Certainly I was openly a Celtic supporter. I’m not sure anyone else at my level was openly a Celtic supporter as well.”

52-year-old Conroy went overboard in the one Glasgow derby he was put in charge of, mysteriously disallowing a ‘goal’ from Marco Fortune and then only booking Kyle Lafferty for an over-the-ball lunge at Andreas Hinkel.

Once he found himself no longer getting picked for the top fixtures, he decided to retire from refereeing.