New Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has revealed he will quit his second job as a football linesman if he becomes first minister of Scotland.
The Moray MP has been adamant he wanted to continue officiating at matches since he was elected unopposed to succeed Jackson Carlaw earlier this week.
But he confirmed to journalists on Friday he would have no choice but to “hang my boots up”, should he ever be elected first minister.
He said: “There is, in my view, enough pressure on the clubs, the match commanders, police etc, to ensure everything is done as safely as possible within our stadiums.
“And I think an added element of potentially one of the match officials being first minister of Scotland does add unnecessary strain to an already sometimes hostile and difficult environment.
“And I think it would make sense at that stage for me to hang up my boots and continue to support Scottish football.
“Indeed, I would still be a strong advocate for Scottish refereeing, and the time would then be for someone younger to come in and take my place.”
Mr Ross is already scheduled to be one of the assistant referees for the Rangers v St Mirren match on Sunday.
The former Moray councillor, who has been an assistant referee at high-profile European ties as well as Scottish Permiership games, also issued a warning about the coronavirus outbreak that has rocked Aberdeen FC.
The Dons’ game against St Johnstone in Perth on Saturday has been called off, after two Aberdeen players tested positive and six others were told to self-isolate.
“In terms of anything about players not respecting social distancing, going into pubs, I’ve seen stories on social media,” Mr Ross said.
“I haven’t seen any wider information on that, I’ve been travelling all day so if there is something out there, I’m not aware of it.
“But I know the Scottish Football Association and Aberdeen FC will be working closely together to see what has happened in this case, and how we can not only stop it from happening again in Aberdeen Football Club, but also other football clubs currently operating in the other leagues that are hoping to get back up and running in the next couple of months.”
He added: “I think it just reminds everyone that it has been a huge boost to get Scottish football back up and running again, fans watching it online, although it is not the same as being in the stadium.
“But it shows the risks involved for everyone should all the guidance not be followed completely.
“And if we get spikes within clubs then that threatens not just the continuation of the Premiership, that has just started, but also the lower leagues coming in and getting back to football as well.”