In the line of fire SFA hands Davis Scottish Cup final role

ANDY Davis, the assistant referee at the centre of the row between Hearts and the Scottish Football Association, will run the line at the Scottish Cup final on 28 May.

John Rowbotham will take charge of the game between Dundee United and Celtic at Hampden, his final match before retiring. The other linesman is Ricky Mooney, while the fourth official is Willie Young, is also in his final season. Hugh Dallas, who will also retire, has been overlooked.

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By selecting Davis for such a high-profile game, the SFA is sending a clear message of support to an official whose integrity was questioned after the match with Rangers at Tynecastle in March.

Rangers won 2-1 with the aid of a late penalty awarded by Dallas on the advice of Davis. The award enraged Hearts, who demanded an SFA inquiry and questioned the "integrity of the decision." The SFA rejected Hearts’ plea and found them guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, fining them 5,000.

Andy Mitchell, the SFA’s head of communications, said Davis’ appointment was on merit. "He’s been appointed because he’s a FIFA assistant referee," Mitchell said. "It stands to reason we would use our top assistant referees to run the line at the cup final."