5 refereeing decisions that broke Scottish hearts

A GUT-WRENCHING look back at five occasions across rugby and football where match officials have crushed Scottish hopes.
South African Craig Joubert faced a wave of criticism following the match. Picture: AFP/GettySouth African Craig Joubert faced a wave of criticism following the match. Picture: AFP/Getty
South African Craig Joubert faced a wave of criticism following the match. Picture: AFP/Getty


Last night’s refereeing decision by South African Craig Joulbert in the Rugby World Cup ensured Scotland would be heading back up the M1 defeated and dejected. Two points ahead of the number two seeds, Australia, with two minutes of play left in the quarter final, Scots collectively held their breath daring to dream of a momentous upset.

It was not to be.

The South African referee Craig Joubert gave the Australians a penalty for offside in the dying stages of the match, when replays seemed to indicate the ball had come of Aussie hands and thus was a knock-on. The Wallabies then promptly kicked the penalty straight through the posts and sealed the Dark Blues’ World Cup fate.

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Making matters worse, Joubert was seen to sprint off the pitch at the final whistle much to the chagrin of players and commentators alike.


Scotland’s lacklustre 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign presented many moments Scots may want to forget.

Epitomising Scotland’s bad luck was Steven Fletcher, who had two goals disallowed in both the first and second legs against group opponents Wales. His goal at Hampden in 2013 appeared to be onside when seen on replay.


A controversial penalty in the dying seconds at Hampden all but killed off Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for the Euro 2012 finals.

Czech winger Jan Rezek looked to have dived during a challenge from Danny Wilson in stoppage time. Despite protest from Scotland players and manager Craig Levein, the referee awarded the penalty which Michal Kadlec fired home and slammed the door shut on Scotland’s Euro dreams.


Scotland always had a mountain to climb in order to qualify for the Euro 2008 football tournament.

Sharing a group with 2006 World Cup winners Italy and runners-up France - not to mention Ukraine who made their way to the last 16 at the same tournament - it was always going to be a mammoth task for the Scots to qualify in the top two spots of the group. However the Tartan Army started to believe they could escape the ‘Group of Death’ after a historic 1-0 victory away to France.

The final group game for Scotland saw Alan Hutton seemingly shoulder-barged off the ball by Giorgio Chiellini in injury time as the game stood at 1-1. The referee stunned Hampden by awarding Italy a free-kick.

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The ending was all to familiar as Christian Panucci headed in Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick to end Scotland’s qualifying campaign.


On the face of it, losing to then three time world cup winners Germany away from home is not something that should upset the Tartan Army.

But play-acting from the Germans and a penalty from Michael Ballack sent the 10-man Scots sliding to another Euro 2004 defeat. The game soured when substitute Maurice Ross was shown a second yellow card five minutes after the Scots had pulled a goal back.

The result caused furious defender, Christian Daily, to famously slam the victors as “f****** German cheats”.