Inside the wacky world of Junior football with Glaswegian hack and Johnstone Burgh goalkeeper Fraser Wilson
THE saying goes that you know you're getting old when the policemen start to look young ... well in my case it's referees.
Honestly, some of the whistlers these days are taking the term junior to the extreme - I'm sure one official turned up for a match at Keanie Park earlier this season in his school uniform.
Fair play to these guys though because they take major flak from the terraces no matter whether they are having a good game or bad.
One new development which has sparked some debate on juniors fans' forums is the introduction of women refs and assistants to the game.
Getting up-and-coming female officials in at our level is a test but, going by punters' comments online, it appears they are passing with flying colours.
We haven't been graced by a 'woman in the middle' at Johnstone yet but, when we are, they'd do well to heed the warning of a funny incident from a few years back when an overzealous fan hopped the barrier and pulled the linesman's shorts down.
The general consensus is that female officials at all levels have proved just as adept as their male counterparts and it certainly appears they have won the respect of the junior fraternity.
Providing they remember to tie their shorts, there's no reason why they can't help improve the game at our level.
The point is, with grassroots football in Scotland fighting a never-ending battle to maintain the required quota of referees, the addition of young whistlers and female officials is to be welcomed.
Without them we have no game and speaking of that, the weather was the big winner again last Saturday as just a handful of matches in the west survived the storms.
Petershill strengthened their position at the top of the Premier Division with a 2-0 derby victory over Pollok.
Only a fool would write-off Peasy's title bid now and they can stretch their lead further this weekend if they win at Cumnock while their closest rivals are engaged on cup duty.
Elsewhere, Pollok travel to Glenafton in the West of Scotland Cup, and St Anthony's entertain Govan rivals Benburb in the league.
• Meanwhile, Thursday morning's Scottish Cup fourth round draw threw up some cracking ties for Glasgow's remaining sides.
Pollok will host Dundee giants Lochee United at Newlandsfield Park and John Richardson will be desperate to ignite his club's season with a run in the Juniors' most prestigious cup competition.
Lok have floundered in the West Premier League and Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Petershill left them a huge 11 points adrift of the leaders.
Not even the most optimistic of fans down Newlands way will believe they can claw that back with Ayrshire giants Auchinleck and Irvine Meadow also well ahead with games in hand.
The Junior Cup has not been kind to Lok fans in recent years but perhaps this could be the year if the club can concentrate their efforts on the Holy Grail.
Elsewhere in today's draw, Cambuslang Rangers, who have still to decide their third round tie against Dundee East Craigie, were drawn at home to either Shotts or Annbank.
Should they deal with the Tayside outfit then, again, boss Alan Wardlaw will be confident his side can use home advantage to progress to the last 16 of the tournament.
And Provanmill's finest, St Roch's, were rewarded for their march to the fourth round with a trip to face Girvan or Broxburn.