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Moray-based Highland League referee Harry Bruce delighted after Hampden debut for Scottish Youth Cup final


By Jonathan Clark

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A MORAY-based Highland League referee is delighted after taking charge of his first match at Hampden.

Harry Bruce (25), who comes from Elgin but stays in Lhanbryde, was whistler for the Scottish Youth Cup final between Rangers and Hearts on Wednesday, April 27.

Moray referee Harry Bruce was in charge for the Scottish Youth Cup Final at Hampden Park in Glasgow between Rangers FC and Heart of Midlothian. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Moray referee Harry Bruce was in charge for the Scottish Youth Cup Final at Hampden Park in Glasgow between Rangers FC and Heart of Midlothian. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

The match, which Rangers won 2-1, is the first that Harry has refereed at the national stadium and – with 2200 in attendance and thousands more watching on BBC Scotland – one of the biggest crowds he's performed before.

However, there wasn't much build-up to the big occasion – with a surprise phone call a week in advance setting the wheels in motion.

"I was at work when I got the call from the SFA so I missed it," Harry said. "When I rang back to see what it was I was told 'congratultions you've got a cup final'.

"But even then I was expecting it to be local. I couldn't believe when it was Hearts against Rangers at Hampden.

"I've had the Aberdeenshire Cup final, been fourth official at the Highland League Cup final but never a national cup final.

"It was a quality experience, I've never had a game at a massive stadium before so it was really good.

"The fact it was on TV made the occasion a lot bigger."

Moray referee Harry Bruce was the ref for the Scottish Youth Cup Final at Hampden Park in Glasgow between Rangers FC and Heart of Midlothian...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Moray referee Harry Bruce was the ref for the Scottish Youth Cup Final at Hampden Park in Glasgow between Rangers FC and Heart of Midlothian...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Harry travelled down to the game with his dad – and said he had an amazing amount of support from friends and family, many of whom watched on the TV.

Those watching saw Harry dish out six yellow cards, but it was far from one of the most difficult games he's taken charge of.

"I was surprised by that," Harry said. "They were all very good footballers and technically very good, but their attitude was very good, too. I can't remember a player arguing with me so that made it an easy evening.

"There were six yellows cards but they weren't for nasty stuff, they were for professional fouls and every player accepted what they'd done.

"It was a supportive team, too, we'd never been on a game together so it was an unknown for us – but we worked well together."

In terms of the future, it's set to be somewhat of a return to normality for Harry next season, as he will be back taking charge of Highland League matches.

He added: "I don't think Hampden will come around very often but hopefully I'll continue to progress through the ranks.

"I'll be back refereeing in the Highland League next season but this was a good occasion to mark a decent season overall."


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