Ten minutes into the second half referee Stevie O’Reilly pulled up with a calf injury and had to be replaced by the stand side linesman, a tannoy announcement was then made: ‘If there is a qualified referee in the stand can you please report to the tunnel’.
A Livingston fan stepped forward and took on the linesman duties but Murray, who has previously called for fourth officials in the Championship, was furious with the situation, he said: “It is an absolute farce that they don’t have four officials at the games, if I am being truthful, because I think Rangers had four officials at every game last season in the Third Division and we are a Championship side.
“The SFA get huge amounts of money announcing new TV deals yet they can’t provide us with four officials.”
While Murray was raging with the set-up he admitted there was nothing the referees themselves could do, while he felt sorry for the Livingston fan who had to run the line, he continued: “It is not the referees’ fault because it is not their decision, it is not the league’s decision – it lies with the SFA that is the bottom line.
“I have been saying it for weeks and months that they should have a fourth official on the sidelines because it helps managers, it helps the linesmen and it helps the referee.
“But the fact of the matter is they don’t and it does no one any good – it wasn’t fair on us, it wasn’t fair on Livingston and it certainly wasn’t fair on the guy that had to go run the line because he was in a no win situation and it doesn’t help the referee either.”
Although the launching of the new SPFL would have been seen as the ideal time to introduce fourth officials to every match, Murray hopes something can still be done to resolve the issue, he added: “I think the quicker they look at it the better – it is a tough one to take because you are trying to promote a league, promote a brand and promote a new division but you can’t provide officials – it is flabbergasting to be honest with you.
“I just feel at this level of football we have to have four officials particularly when they treat Rangers to get four – we should be getting treated better than Rangers, we are in a higher division – it is as simple as that.”