WHO would want to be a referee is an often posed footballing question yet surely it has never been more pertinent than going into today’s final round of Umbro Quadrangular Tournament games.

Respective whistlers Graham Grainger and Declan Troy could find themselves emerging as even more central figures than normal because of the fact an outside chance exists of both Northern Ireland and Scotland finishing with the same points total, goal difference and goals scored on the back of a 2-2 head to head between them earlier this week.

Most people would bet against it happening yet that very scenario would come about if the Irish – currently ahead of Scotland in the standings by a better goals differential of +3 – beat the Republic of Ireland by a 1-0 scoreline and the Scots get a 4-0 Newlandsfield victory against the Isle of Man.

And according to Tournament rules, a tie-breaker then comes into the reckoning based upon each side’s accumulation of yellow and red cards throughout the Tournament with the honours going to the team totting up the least disciplinary points.

Scotland currently have four yellow cards against their name but the prospect of a card lottery is not being entertained by Scottish team boss Keith Burgess who insists he will be throwing caution to the wind and urging his playing charges to go on all-out attack against their Manx opponents.

He said: “The intense rivalry existing between the two Irish sides means their head to heads are typically close fought contests, however we have to look to doing our own job rather than relying upon a favourable result elsewhere.

“That’s how it should be and even though our players have come through two physically demanding games, we have prepared for yet another tough shift against the Isle of Man who will undoubtedly be determined to go out on a high.

“They may have lost both their games up to now but reports back indicate they have deserved better so we need to put in another top notch performance to have any chance of getting the desired outcome.

“We know that as things stand, Northern Ireland hold the upper hand so the onus is firmly on us to win … and to win convincingly into the bargain.

“It’s a big ask at the end of such a tasking week, however I have to say the spirit among the guys continues to be nothing short of terrific and I sense we have a big game in us.”

The quiet spoken Budgie reflected on his side’s last gasp 1-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night when saying: “The Republic lads appeared to set out their stall to play for a draw but I felt we absolutely pummelled them into submission though it began to look like we were not going to get a reward for our efforts until Ross Brash conjured up our winning goal right at the death.

“The euphoria among the players afterwards was just unbelievable and it says everything when Colin Spence – someone who is a five times Scottish Cup winner with Auchinleck Talbot – said he had never known such a feeling in his entire playing career.”

The Scots gaffer was delighted with his side’s display but went on admit he was going to freshen his line-up for today’s potential make or break showdown.

“David McKenna, Ewan Moyes and Phil Johnston are the only three players not to have started in our earlier games and I have no fears whatsoever about giving them their chance to shine on the big stage.

“I also have to weigh up what our previous games have taken out of the other guys before deciding on who starts and who doesn’t but I think it’s fair to say Craig Pettigrew will lead the team out again as he and big Dean Hoskins have been rock solid cornerstones.

“And having the onus on ourselves to score goals holds no fears as I have every faith in strikers McKenna, Bryan Boylan, Keir Milliken and Graham Wilson doing the business.”

On the domestic Junior front comes word that Super Premier Division bottom markers Cumnock have concluded interviews for their team manager position made vacant by last weekend’s departure of John McKeown.

Girvan boss Peter Leonard continues to be linked with the post while also in the running is former Ayr United manager Mark Roberts who is currently registered as a player with Hurlford United.


(Kick-offs 2.30pn)

Umbro Quadrangular Tournament: Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland (McKenna Park), Scotland v Isle of Man (Newlandsfield).

William Hill Scottish Cup (3pm): Deveronvale v Glenafton, Banks O’Dee v Selkirk.