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Craig Alexander Thomson (born 20 June 1972[1]) is a Scottish former football referee, who was a match official between 1988 and 2019.[2] Thomson originates from Paisley, Renfrewshire.[3]

Craig Thomson
Craig Thomson (referee).jpg
Thomson (yellow shirt) refereeing a 2008–09 UEFA Cup game between Lech Poznań and Deportivo La Coruña.
Full name Craig Thomson
Born (1972-06-20) 20 June 1972 (age 47)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Other occupation Solicitor
Years League Role
1988–2019 Scottish Football Association Referee
2000–2002 Scottish Football League Referee
2002–2013 Scottish Premier League Referee
2013–2019 Scottish Professional Football League Referee
Years League Role
2003–2018 FIFA listed Referee


Thomson has officiated in the Scottish Premier League since 2002, and his first match in charge in that League was the fixture between St Johnstone and Hibernian on 12 May 2002.[4] Thomson has been a FIFA referee since 2003.[1] His first International match for FIFA was the 4–1 defeat of Northern Ireland by Norway at Windsor Park, Belfast, on 18 February 2004.[5] His next most notable match abroad was the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between the Faroe Islands and France on 8 September 2004, when he sent off Patrick Vieira during a 2–0 win for the French.[6]

Domestically, he handled the 2006 Scottish Challenge Cup final between Ross County and Clyde.[7] He was selected to referee during the UEFA Under-21 Championship 2007, held in the Netherlands.[2] This included him issuing a second yellow card to Belgium's Marouane Fellaini in the 18th minute of their Group A match against Israel on 13 June in the Abe Lenstra Stadion.[8] He was not appointed to referee any other games in the Championship. Thomson appeared as a fourth official at UEFA Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria.[9]

Thomson took charge of the 2009 Scottish Cup Final between Rangers and Falkirk. In the 2010 Scottish League Cup Final between Rangers and St Mirren, Thomson sent off two Rangers players Danny Wilson and Kevin Thomson.[10] Other high-profile matches include a friendly between France and Spain on 3 March 2010 as well as a number of Old Firm matches.[citation needed]

On 12 October 2010, Thomson abandoned the ItalySerbia Euro 2012 qualification match after seven minutes of play due to crowd disorder.[11] Italy was later awarded a 3–0 victory by UEFA for the forfeit.[11] The following month, Real Madrid players Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso appeared to deliberately incur second yellow cards from Thomson in a UEFA Champions League match, thereby serving a suspension in a dead rubber match.[12] Then Real Madrid coach José Mourinho denied that the players had sought to be sent-off.[13]

In the 2011 Scottish League Cup final between Celtic and Rangers, Thomson awarded Rangers a penalty, but then changed his decision.[14] In the final Old Firm match of the 2010–11 season, Thomson awarded Celtic a penalty with seven minutes remaining, which was saved by Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.[15]

In 2011, Thomson refereed the France–Bosnia and Herzegovina Euro 2012 qualification match.[16]

Thomson was appointed for the 2012 Scottish Cup final, which was won 5–1 by Hearts against their Edinburgh derby rivals Hibernian.[17] During the match, Thomson awarded a penalty to Hearts for a foul which television replays showed had taken place outside the box.[18]

Thomson was selected in December 2011 to referee in the Euro 2012 final stages.[19] He took charge of the group stage matches PortugalDenmark and Czech RepublicPoland. Thomson was also in charge of a 2014 World Cup qualification match between Romania and the Netherlands on 16 October 2012 in Bucharest.[20]

In March 2013, Thomson refereed a Champions League quarter-final match between Borussia Dortmund and Málaga, which Dortmund won with two late goals.[21] Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan spoke in defence of Thomson, saying that he had performed well to earn the high-profile appointment and that the problems in the Borussia Dortmund–Málaga match had been due to his assistants.[22] Thomson hoped to be selected for the 2014 World Cup final stages,[23] but FIFA omitted him from their list of 14 officials for the tournament.[24]

Thomson officiated the 2014 Scottish Cup Final at Celtic Park in Glasgow in which Perth side St Johnstone beat Dundee United 2–0. During the match, he handed out six yellow cards.[citation needed]

He retired from refereeing at the end of the 2018–19 season.[25]

Life outside footballEdit

Thomson is currently a solicitor who specifies in construction and engineering law.[26]


  1. ^ a b Referee profile at the Scottish Football Association website. Retrieved on 16 June 2007.
  2. ^ a b Date Thomson first took up refereeing, also matches or appointments in more detail: the Scottish Football Association website. Retrieved on 16 June 2007.
  3. ^ Home town, Paisley: match report at the Dunfermline Athletic website. Retrieved on 20 December 2007.
  4. ^ "Craig Thomson". soccerbase. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  5. ^ First International match: website. Retrieved on 16 June 2007.
  6. ^ Faroe Islands v. France, 2006 World Cup qualifying match, 8 September 2004: ESPNsoccernet website. Retrieved on 16 June 2007.
  7. ^ Scottish Challenge Cup Final, 2006: website. Retrieved on 16 June 2007.
  8. ^ Belgium v. Israel, UEFA Under-21 Championship 2007, 13 June: ESPNsoccernet website. Retrieved on 16 June 2007.
  9. ^ Fourth official duties, Euro 2008: website. Retrieved on 20 December 2007.
  10. ^ "Kenny Miller sees nine-man Rangers through to victory". The Guardian. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Italy-Serbia Euro 2012 tie abandoned after fan trouble". BBC Sport. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  12. ^ "Champions League round-up: Mourinho denies red card plot". BBC Sport. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  13. ^ "Jose Mourinho unimpressed by Scottish referee". The Independent. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
  14. ^ "Rangers manager critical of referee Thomson after 'dangerous' decision to rescind penalty". The Herald. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  15. ^ "Rangers 0 – 0 Celtic". BBC Sport. 24 April 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  16. ^ "Controversial refereeing call helps France qualify again, but they will underperform at Euro 2012 unless they improve massively". 12 October 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  17. ^ Campbell, Andy (19 May 2012). "Hibernian 1–5 Hearts". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  18. ^ Lindsay, Clive (19 May 2012). "Hibs' Leigh Griffiths blasts referee Craig Thomson and Suso". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Referees Howard Webb & Craig Thomson earn Euro 2012 roles". BBC Sport. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  20. ^ Walker, Mark (18 October 2012). "Romania raging at ref Craig". The Scottish Sun. News International. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Uefa studies Malaga owner's remarks after European exit". BBC Sport. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  22. ^ Fowler, Craig (11 April 2013). "SFA defend Craig Thomson as Malaga make ref complaint". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  23. ^ Keevins, Hugh (16 November 2013). "Scots referee Craig Thomson says World Cup call up would help him repay family for sacrifices they've made in pursuit of his career". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  24. ^ "World Cup finals snub for Scots referee Thomson". Evening Times. Herald & Times Group. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  25. ^ Idessane, Kheredine (22 May 2019). "Referee Craig Thomson retires after 19 years as top official". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  26. ^ Professional profile: Maclay, Murray and Spens LLC website. Retrieved on 16 June 2007.

External linksEdit