BRENDAN RODGERS will be hoping to enjoy better fortune than many of his Celtic predecessors who have been summoned to appear before the SFA disciplinary committee.

The Hoops boss, of course, will face the Scottish soccer rulers today after remarks made following the controversial 2-0 loss to Hearts at Tynecastle 25 days ago.

Rodgers was incensed by the decision-making of referee Don Robertson and VAR official John Beaton and, if found guilty, faces a touchline ban which will see him in the stand for the forthcoming games at Livingston on Sunday and at Ibrox a week later.

It is nothing new for those of a Celtic persuason to run the gauntlet of the SFA.

Spare a thought for the Hoops players who encountered an individual by the moniker of R.D. Henderson, from Dundee, who was in charge of a league game against St Mirren at Parkhead on November 5 1966.

Future Lisbon Lion Bobby Murdoch was captain of the team that afternoon with Billy McNeill missing following a bout of flu.

The day didn’t quite go as planned as the hosts were held to a 1-1 draw by the Paisley side and two goals – from Joe McBride and Jimmy Johnstone – were disallowed in extremely close calls (some things never change).

Murdoch was also ordered off for the first time in his career in a clear case of mistaken identity and the SFA refused to allow an opponent to appear as a witness to defend the Celtic midfielder.

Here is an edited extract from my book, ‘That Season In Paradise‘, which was published by CQN in 2016.

NO GOAL…Joe McBride powerfully heads the ball past helpless St Mirren keeper Denis Connaghan, but the effort is ruled out.

THE game was scoreless at the interval, but within two minutes of the turnaround, Tommy Gemmell took the opportunity to venture forth and he was right in line, 30 yards out, when a wayward cross broke to him.

He strode forward and caught the ball perfectly with his fearsome right foot and there was little the defiant Denis Connaghan could do as the effort raged past him. The keeper was still in mid-air when the ball crashed behind him into the net.

Unbelievably, the Paisley side equalised only eight minutes after Gemmell’s blaster. Frank Treacy, who had scored his side’s goals in their 8-2 thrashing in the League Cup at the same venue earlier in the season, chased a long ball, punted by a defender from deep inside his own half.

He brought it under control and the pacy forward, basically left unattended, drew Ronnie Simpson from his line and flicked the ball past the veteran.

If the Parkhead patrons found that difficult to fathom, it was nothing to their emotions when the referee saw fit to order off Bobby Murdoch.

The midfielder raced over to retrieve the ball as it went out of play. Puzzlingly, the linesman signalled a throw-in to St Mirren when it seemed clear to all in the proximity the award should have gone the way of Celtic.

NO WAY THROUGH…a close-range drive from Bobby Lennox is blocked by Saints keeper Denis Connaghan.

Someone said something untoward and that was enough to see the official frantically wave his flag to attract the attention of the referee.

After a quick confab, the whistler summoned Murdoch to come over and then dramatically pointed to the dressing room. I was a friend of Murdoch for many years and, although I accept I may be a shade biased, I never found him to be in the least bit malicious or offensive.

I doubted if he would have brought the linesman’s parentage into question, but whatever had happened had seen the playmaker immediately banished from taking further part in the proceedings.

In his 1970 autobiography, ‘All The Way With Celtic‘, Murdoch revealed: “The first time I was ever ordered off in my life was in a league match against St Mirren at Celtic Park in November 1966. I was so innocent that it hurt!

“Things were not going well for Celtic or me on this particular occasion. With the score at 1-1, we were pushing hard for the winner late in the game. The ball went out of play for a throw-in at the Jungle side of the ground and I immediately claimed it was ours. The linesman, however, flagged the other way.

“I looked at him, shook my head and ran away to take up a defensive position.

“Claims were made by either side as the ball was retrieved. When it was picked up by a St Mirren player, the linesman was seen to have his flag raised.

IN CONTROL…the masterful Bobby Murdoch in action for Celtic.

“Over went the referee for a chat and his next move was to call me over and ask for my name. I couldn’t believe it.

“I said: ‘Why are you booking me, ref? I haven’t done anything.’

“The referee, Ronnie Henderson, of Dundee, said that I had been accused of swearing at his assistant. He said: ‘I can only act on what the linesman told me. The game is over as far as you are concerned. You can have an early bath.’

“I was off and I hadn’t opened my mouth! My heart filled with the injustice of the situation. St Mirren inside-forward Archie Gemmill came over and said to the referee: ‘You have the wrong man, ref. It wasn’t him.’

“But the referee wouldn’t change his decision. So, seven minutes from the end, I was off – and I was Celtic’s captain for the day, too. Oh, did I feel rough!

“I told our manager that I had not committed any offence whatsoever and that I should never have been booked never mind sent off. He accepted my explanation – particularly when our centre-forward, Joe McBride, owned up: ‘Bobby’s right, boss. It was me who shouted at the lineman.’

“Archie Gemmill, the Paisley forward who had been marking me during the match, very sportingly said after it was all over that he was prepared to be my witness when I appeared before the SFA Referee Committee and state that it was a clear case of mistaken identity.

“After seeing a copy of the referee’s report, I sent a letter to the SFA giving my side of the incident and stating that I wanted Gemmill to appear as my witness. But the SFA wouldn’t have this at all. I was not allowed any witnesses.

HAPPIER TIMES…Bobby Murdoch jumps for joy after thumping in Celtic’s winning goal in the 2-1 European Cup semi-final triumph over Leeds United at Hampden in April 1970.

“When someone is prepared to come forward from an opposition side and say something on your behalf, shouldn’t he surely be allowed to do so?

“Anyhow, I appeared before the SFA Referee Committee, which had Morton director Peter Scott in the chair. He asked me for my side of the story and I told him in complete detail.

“I went outside while they discussed my case and when I was recalled I was told I had been fined £30 and severely censured.

“It was very obvious they were not too sure of what had gone on and it seemed to me that the compromise was a fine. An innocent man fined. It would break your heart.

“But this kind of thing is all part and parcel of the game of football.”

And here we are today, folks, almost six decades later and it appears we are about to witness SFA justice yet again.


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