North-east assistant referee Calum Spence says his selection for the elite round of UEFA Under-17 Championships qualifying will help him “forget” being injured in a coin-throwing incident.
Young assistant Spence will join man-in-the-middle Don Robertson in Germany next month for the group four ties between the hosts, Slovenia, Iceland and Belarus.
Two teams could potentially qualify from the group for the finals in the Republic of Ireland in May.
In September, Spence was struck by a coin which drew blood in Rangers’ visit to Livingston and he is glad to now be in the spotlight for positive reasons.
He said: “It’s things like this that will allow me to forget about negative things like the coin incident.”
It was one of several instances of crowd missile-throwing in the Scottish Premiership this season.
But Spence says this appointment will help him put his ordeal behind him, and that perpetrators of missile-throwing are out to ruin football.
He said: “When I see these opportunities and get these experiences it allows me to entirely forget about the minority of people who want to spoil the sport.”
The Aberdeen and District Referees Association, of which Spence is a member, are “delighted” to see him recognised.
Sandy Roy, association manager of the Aberdeen and District RA said: “This is the other side of the coin, if you like.
“It was an unsavoury incident at Livingston, but a four or five-day trip abroad is the icing on the cake for him.”
The SFA were required to appoint a referee and an assistant for the group four games and Spence was thrilled to be chosen.
He said: “Thankfully I’ve been selected alongside Don Robertson who I’ve worked with before – he’s very good. I’m looking forward to working with him again.”
Spence hopes his own recognition will lead to further European involvement, but also believes his appointment will inspire other young officials from the north-east and show them anything is possible.
He commented: “This is, I think, my fifth European trip and they’ve all gone really well so far. If we keep up this standard, there’s no reason why we can’t be selected again.
“It’s great for the younger members of the association to show that if you work hard, there are opportunities like this.”
With controversy over refereeing decisions rife recently, Spence says the appointment is proof Scottish officials are more than up to the task. He said: “Although there’s been a lot of media attention on refereeing, the standard of refereeing and decision-making generally in Scotland is very high.”