As recently as December, Sky Sports contributor and very, very, lapsed Celtic fan, Neil McCann, accused John Guidetti of cheating while simultaneously acknowledging that the player didn’t claim for the penalty McCann thought he didn’t deserve. The mental contortions required to allow McCann to accuse a Celtic player of cheating, while not cheating, was worthy of awe.
Yesterday the same open sore was evident. Craig Gordon fouled Jackson Irvine 23 yards off his line, to the side of the field. Virgil van Dijk was back inside the six yard line with other Celtic players storming back.
McCann waxed lyrical that the Celtic goalkeeper should have been ordered off, claiming “The new rules are simple. Is the Ross County player being denied a goal scoring opportunity?”
He’s half right, the Rules of the Game are clear, they note three sending off offenses for fouls:
Serious foul play
Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity
Referee guidance on the third offense is crystal clear; denying a possible goal scoring opportunity is not a sending off offense. Referees are only allowed to show the red card when an obvious opportunity has been denied.
Jackson Irvine could get an early shot off with his left foot (he’s right footed) but it would need to be a spectacular effort from a tight angle. The potential chance was never an obvious goal scoring opportunity. The yellow card decision was correct. These are the Rules of the Game and the guidance referees are given.
The only thing you need to know about yesterday is that if you have a career in the football media, and before you cite the Rules of the Game, you’d better read them. Otherwise you might appear to be a bitter clown who falsifies the rules to suit an agenda.