A REMARKABLE MONTH for Moray politician Douglas Ross that has seen his hopes of starring in the House of Commons dashed will end with a leading role in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park.
The Tory councillor for Fochabers/Lhanbryde has been just as much at home in Scottish League and Highland League football grounds as he has the council chambers.
For the past year Douglas has mixed his council duties with fighting the Moray seat at the general election – and officiating on-field battles at the highest levels of Scottish and European football.
Now his disappointment at losing out to Angus Robertson just over a week ago will be laid to one side as he ends this month running the line at the Scottish Cup Final between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Falkirk.
The fiery politician did not have much time to ponder his election defeat before heading to Saudi Arabia last weekend, where he was assistant to fellow-Scot John Beaton in a highly charged Riyadh derby between Al Hilal and Al Nasr – a game that saw Beaton head-butted by midfielder Salem Al Dawsari.
“It was quite a memorable few days,” Douglas said on his return to Moray, adding: “I was an assistant last year in the League Cup Final between Aberdeen and Caley Thistle at Parkhead, but the thrill of being picked for this season’s Scottish Cup final will be the first time I’ve been appointed for a game at the national stadium.”
The 32-year-old has officiated at serval top games at home and abroad in recent years – but he will be hoping that his first duty visit to Hampden is a little less dramatic than his debut at East End Park in Dunfermline back in October 2012.
Referee Kevin Clancy was involved in a first-half collision with Cowdenbeath skipper Colin Cameron – and could not return to the field for the second half, leaving Douglas to take over – but only after a long delay and appeal to the 3,500 crowd produced a volunteer in the shape of 61-year-old amateur league referee John Campbell to take over his slot on the line!
Douglas said: “I stepped out of the dressing room but between there and the pitch was a bank of photographers, all keen to see what the holdup had been.
“I likened it to a celebrity stepping onto the red carpet with all the flashes going off and if I looked startled as I walked out it was more to do with the cameras going off than the task ahead of me.
“The players were keen to get going when I reached the centre circle with a couple telling me they had nights out in Fife and the delay was staring to impinge on their plans.
“Little did they know I had a three-hour plus journey home after the match so the delay meant I would be home quite a bit later than expected.”
Douglas has another date a few weeks after his Hampden date – his own wedding: “I had been hoping that my wife-to-be Krystle would have come down with me to watch the cup final – but we’re getting married two weeks later, and while I’ll be running the line at the national stadium she will be later enjoying her hen night with all her pals.”