Scottish football offside rule changes for new season

A linesman flags for offside. Picture: Contributed
A linesman flags for offside. Picture: Contributed
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A CHANGE has been made to the offside rule in Scottish football ahead of the upcoming 2015/16 campaign in a bid to allow greater clarity for officials.

The alteration will see players penalised if they are considered to be impacting on an opponent playing the ball - whether an outfield player or a goalkeeper attempting a save.

Scottish whistler Steven McLean talked Sky Sports through the alteration, describing it as a ‘simple change’.

He added: “If a player makes an obvious action that clearly impacts on his opponent’s ability to play the ball, then he will be penalised as offside.”

McLean cited an incident in a Scottish Cup match between St Johnstone and Ross County, in which St Johnstone defender Steven Anderson was in an offside position following a set-piece which eventually led to a goal.

Despite Anderson being offside, and the linesman flagging for the infringement, referee John Beaton gave the goal as the defender had not made contact with the ball.

McLean also recalled a similar situation in a league match involving St Johnstone and Hearts. Stevie May scored a goal, as seen in the video, which evades everyone in the box and beats the ‘keeper.

But David Wotherspoon’s move towards the ball, although not a problem at the time, would be considered to be impacting on the goalkeeper’s ability to play the ball.

The alteration to the rule means that in similar situations from this season on, the goals in both situations would not be given.

McLean added: “There will be more offside situations, so hopefully this will give us more situations which will be in line with the expectations of the players, and so it will be more consistent.

“I think it’s better for [officials], it’s better for football, it’s better for the supporters. It seems to be a sensible move.”