KRIS Boyd has appealed to players, managers and supporters to lay off referees if they make mistakes when Scottish football resumes after a four-and-a-half month shutdown this weekend.

The interview Boyd and Robert Snodgrass did with Willie Collum on their TLC podcast this summer highlighted the intense pressure match officials are under and the horrific personal abuse they are often subjected to.

The former Rangers, Kilmarnock and Scotland striker fears the lengthy lay-off caused by the Covid-19 outbreak may have an adverse affect on the performances of referees and linesmen in the coming weeks.

The Sky Sports pundit, who set up his own mental health charity following the tragic death of his brother in 2016, if hopeful they won’t be made scapegoats for team’s defeats.  

“I did a podcast with Willie Collum over the break and it was quite powerful,” said Boyd. “We need give referees some leeway with decisions.

“You have Bobby Madden at Pittodrie on Saturday - he has only had one game to referee in pre-season. We are going to have to be lenient with them and not overly criticise them. It’s going to be their first action for a couple of months and they are not going to be up to speed.

“It can be difficult to referee a game at the best of times so if there’s decisions that are wrong then you have to remember a lot of these guys have been off for a long time and it takes a bit of time to get back to normal and up and running.

“They are going to make mistakes, we get that. But especially this season because, with everything that’s at stake then everyone will be looking to blame someone else for anything that doesn’t go their way.

“I think we need to be careful with the referees. They are human beings and have only had one or two games in the build-up to what is hopefully a fantastic month of football in August. It’s going to take them a few weeks to get back up to speed.

“We need to make sure we look after them as well because the full package of Scottish football will be under the spotlight and we want to showcase it as a fantastic product.”

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