JOHN HUGHES has launched a blistering attack on refs — and claimed his last call to Hampden beaks felt like a Jeremy Beadle prank.
Ross County gaffer Yogi hit out days after Hamilton boss Brian Rice slammed officials and SFA referees’ chief Crawford Allan.
Both managers claim their teams have been on the wrong end of decisions.
Hughes even suggested many whistlers are Old Firm fans.
He said contacting Allan is so pointless he feels like he’s wandered into an episode of 1980s hit TV show Beadle’s About.
Yogi said: “When you phone up, what a phone call — you are waiting for Jeremy Beadle to jump out!
“I am serious, you are looking for Beadle to appear.
“You are on the phone asking, ‘Is this for real’?
“I have never been patronised so much in all my life.
“I’m 56. I have played the game and I have been brought up with my gut and my character.
“I know it and I’ve seen it with my own eyes and I am getting that on the phone, it is just embarrassing.
“Brian Rice had a rant and I have his back that’s for sure.”
Hughes repeated his call for full-time refs in the Premiership and wants experienced whistlers for the bottom-six run-in, as County fight for survival.
Willie Collum has been appointed for Saturday’s crucial drop-zone clash at Kilmarnock.
But the Staggies boss insists Scottish refereeing is filled with fans of Celtic and Rangers.
Hughes suspects those alleged Old Firm allegiances are why the SFA doesn’t publicise which clubs whistlers support.
In England, refs have to declare what team they follow and the situation is audited each season. But that doesn’t happen north of the border.
Hughes added: “I asked the question of a certain referee about his team.
“I was told we don’t ask our refs which team they support because half of them wouldn’t be able to referee Rangers and Celtic — that’s the reason why!
“Going full-time would help them, but one or two referees have had a personality bypass as there is no talking to them.
“They put that wee uniform on and they are running about out there. They should just calm down and take a notch off their jockstrap.
“Part of being a referee is about having a bit of banter, your people skills and the way you conduct yourself.”
Rice hit out at officials and Allan’s handling of complaints after two penalty controversies in the Scottish Cup defeat to St Mirren last weekend.
Hughes said: “I heard my mate Brian the other day after their game and I was laughing — but not at him.
“I stand by him. But try being the Ross County boss, Chipper!
“With the penalty against Hibs, you are having a laugh.
“The penalty against St Mirren, with the boy Greg Aitken, you are having a laugh. They were absolutely horrendous decisions.
“I was laughing at that because I know what you are going through, Brian. I feel your pain, but ours is WORSE than yours. We could be sitting with a few more points because I think we have had a couple of really shocking refereeing decisions.
“The one against Hibs was with John Beaton. We never get a penalty, but there have been plenty against us.
“Although I am laughing at it, I feel I am together with Brian. Everything he is saying, he is saying for me as well.
“Everything he says, I agree with. I agree small clubs get absolutely nothing.
“Somebody will say, ‘Here he goes, ranting and raving’, but I am not. The proof is in the pudding and I have just highlighted two incidents. I don’t know why those decisions were given by two experienced referees. You expect better from them.
“It is easy being a referee. Just referee what you see and that is simple.
“I haven’t spoken to Chipper about what happened, but he has my backing 100 per cent and a little bit more.”
Rice claimed refs’ chief Allan isn’t interested in speaking to smaller clubs and Hughes agrees, insisting they feel patronised when they make calls.
He added: “I agree with Brian when he says with Crawford Allan you are wasting your time. That is why I would never phone him again to be patronised. You are having a laugh.
“Chipper has my backing, but try being the Ross County manager with the stonewall penalties we don’t get, or the soft ones that are given against us.
“If he had given that penalty we had against Hibs in an Old Firm game, there would have been an outcry.
“Something has to be done about it and there has to be some accountability.”
Hughes has been a supporter of full-time refs for years. The County boss is glad the crucial game with Killie this weekend will be overseen by Collum.
And while he knows young refs have to learn their trade, he doesn’t agree with the notion that it’s OK for them to take charge of only the smaller clubs.
He said: “The managers have to get together. The refs try their best, but I think they need a hand.
“I want them to go full-time because that would help them.
“How can I be in a league of 12 and it gets split where you can referee that team down there, but you can’t referee that team up there? That is not equality, that is rules for one and different rules for others. We need to highlight that, you can’t get away with that. It shouldn’t be going on, we are in 2021.
“I am at the same table as Celtic and Rangers and I play to the same rules. But we are treated differently, that has to be exposed.
“You have to ask the reason why. That is discriminating against my club.
“We had a rookie referee a couple of weeks before we had John Beaton — and he was miles better than him.
“But we need experienced guys from now on in. I want the best, and Willie Collum’s up there with the best.”