Know the Ref - Rangers Scottish Cup semi-final

Last updated : 22 April 2009 By Stuart Gillespie
Chances are, Mr Murray has seen it all before so he won't be overawed by the occasion - but will he be taken in by the usual tricks from one of the Old Firm sides?

He's already done three of our games this season - and they've all ended in defeat. There was the embarrassing League Cup exit to Dunfermline, the shocking defeat to Dundee United at Love Street in November and the loss to Hearts at Tynecastle in August, where he correctly sent off Tonet. He also gave two penalties against us - both of which were rather soft.

Last season, Mr Murray only did one Saints game - a draw at home with Inverness Caley Thistle. Our first season back in the SPL saw him take charge of two defeats - a loss to Kilmarnock and a 3-2 defeat by Rangers, where he did what is expected of an official by giving Rangers a dodgy free-kick and turning down numerous penalty claims from the diddy team before finally giving one.

From that, the record doesn't look good. Yet, if you go back to 2005/06, things are a lot better - because Mr Murray was the official when we beat Dundee at Love Street to seal the first division title. He was also involved in two Tuesday night victories - against St. Johnstone in the League Cup and a thriller at Brechin.

There was just one Saints game for this official in 2004/05 - a 3-2 win over Ross County where Charlie Adam scored from the half way line for the visitors. 2003/04 saw his first encounter with Saints when he took charge of the first league game of the season. We drew 1-1 at Raith Rovers with our goal coming from a penalty, although we did have Kirk Broadfoot sent off. The other games that season were a Friday night defeat at Clyde and a Scottish Cup win over Airdrie.

Mr Murray has done several Rangers games this season - including one that almost defies logic. A few months ago, with the scores level at Ibrox, he sent off Davie Weir and gave Inverness Caley Thistle a last minute penalty - surely a first for an away team! He also did the boring Old Firm game in February and a goalless draw at Aberdeen. His other three Rangers games have all seen them win - a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock (he sent off Sasa Papac late on), a 3-0 win at Hibs and a 7-1 hammering of Hamilton (who had Martin Canning sent off when it was still 2-1).

There were two Rangers games for this official last season - a win over Gretna and a draw with Hibs. The only game in 2006/07 was the previously mentioned one against Saints. Why there was only one is a mystery, as he did three in 2005/06 - a win over Inverness Caley Thistle and two over Kilmarnock.

There were two more Rangers wins involving Mr Murray in 2004/05 - against Inverness Caley Thistle (who had Grant Munro sent off late on) and Motherwell. The Caley Thistle game seems to have been the first time he was let loose on a Rangers game - perhaps the late red card was to show the powers that be he knows how to handle such games!

Mr Murray has already done one semi-final this year, when Celtic beat Dundee United in an epic penalty shoot out in the League Cup. Last year he was involved in the promotion play-offs in the SFL, while the previous season he took charge of a League Challenge Cup semi-final involving Clyde and Morton. He was involved in the play-offs in 2005/06 and also did a Scottish Cup semi-final that season when Gretna beat Dundee.

Our recent record with Mr Murray isn't great, while Rangers have won several times with him. He's shown eight red cards this season but just two since the turn of the year - one of those against Rangers at Ibrox. Will he be looking to make amends for that on Saturday?