Scotland’s top referees are planning to strike after claiming recent criticism could lead to one of them being assaulted.

It is understood the category one officials have voted to refuse appointments for next weekend’s fixtures.

If the strike does go ahead, four Premier League games on Saturday, including Celtic v Inverness, and two more on Sunday, including Dundee United v Rangers, will be affected.

Referees have become steadily worried about their safety, and also that of their families, in after heavy criticism from a number of areas.

Talk of match officials has dominated the Scottish football landscape since ref Dougie McDonald rescinded a penalty he had initially awarded to Celtic during their 2-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League victory at Dundee United on October 17.

The president of the SFA George Pear described the strike decision as a “sad day for Scottish football”.

“We will do everything we possibly can to broker a deal before the weekend because it’s obviously important that officials are on duty on Saturday and Sunday.”

He added: “We do not condone the strike but we must sympathise with the grievances of the referees.”

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, who launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding McDonald’s controversial decision, later announced plans to launch a “respect” campaign towards match officials.