FORMER World Cup whistler Les Mottram reckons refereeing in Scotland will improve as a result of Craig Thomson being involved at Euro 2012.
Mottram was delighted to see Thomson make the 12-strong officials team for the finals in Poland and Ukraine this summer.
It is the first time since the World Cup in Japan and South Korea in 2002 that a Scot has been a referee in a major tournament.
Refereeing in this country has been blighted by a series of high-profile controversies since the infamous Dougiegate row – Dougie McDonald lied to Celtic manager Neil Lennon – caused chaos two years ago.
And faith in officialdom among players, managers and fans in this country is possibly at an all-time low.
But Mottram, who was a man-in-the-middle at USA '94 and Euro '96, believes that could all change in the 2012-13 campaign as a result of Thomson's success.
The SFA whistler is joined at Euro 2012 by assistants Al Ross and Derek Rose and Euan Norris and Willie Collum are also set to be involved.
"It helps the whole refereeing system in Scotland if we have somebody going to one of the big tournaments," stated Mottram.
"If the younger referees coming through the system see one of their own getting involved in such an occasion, it gives them something to strive for.
"Every young referee is ambitious, wants to get promoted. Craig being at Euro 2012 will show them what they can achieve if they work hard and excel.
"In addition, the referee involved in the finals comes back to this country with a lot of experience, a lot of ideas, he can pass on to his colleagues."
Mottram spent years as an official in Japan towards the end of his career and believes that is the way ahead for whistlers in this country.
"I know that Craig, who is a lawyer, took the decision a few years ago to only work part-time so he can concentrate on his refereeing," he said. "He is reaping the rewards of that now.
"There are many benefits to being full-time, like Craig is, when you are a referee.There is no problem getting time off for games. You are able to prepare and recover properly.
"I was back in Japan a few weeks ago. Virtually all of their referees are now full-time. It is the same scenario in a lot of countries around the world. Fifa are looking to promote professional referees."
Mottram, though, still finds it astonishing that referees will not be helped by modern technology in Poland and Ukraine, and he hopes this tournament is the last finals where that is the case.
"Video evidence should have been brought into the game long, long ago," he stressed. "Ask any referee and they will tell you the same thing. They just want to get the decisions correct.
"If a video replay results in a decision being overturned, then so be it. No referee would mind if the end decision is correct.
"Hopefully, Fifa will see sense soon."
Euro '96 brings back fond memories for Mottram – even though he missed out on the chance to take charge of the final as a result of hosts England being in the semi-finals.
He was tipped to take charge of the deciding match after excelling at the group stage – his handling of Italy against Russia at Anfield drew praise from officials.
But after Terry Venables' team defeated Spain 4-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals, he had to content himself with handling the semi-final between France and the Czech Republic.
"I was in the running for the final," he said. "Scottish officials aren't allowed to referee English teams, at whatever level.
"Plus, despite being Scottish, I was born in London so it could have caused issues."
The semi-final was played in front of a 45,000 crowd at Old Trafford and was one of the highlights of his career.
Yet, it nearly turned into a nightmare after the game ended up goalless.
He stated: "It all went quite well for me until the penalty shoot-out. Then there was nearly a major diplomatic incident.
"Kubic took, and scored the first penalty for the Czechs. With the score 4-4, he came back up to take the fifth.
"The French goalkeeper, Bernard Lama, came running up to me screaming: 'Mr Mottram! Mr Mottram! He already take a penalty!' Fortunately, I had spotted it.
"I had been involved in a few controversies in my career, but if he had taken the penalty and scored, that would have taken the biscuit."