CELTIC have maintained a dignified silence in the fall-out of the second Glasgow derby of the campaign.
The champions, of course, have notched up back-to-back triumphs with Kyogo Furuhashi hitting spectacular winners on both occasions, 1-0 at Ibrox on September 3 and 2-1 at Parkhead at the weekend.
There are still some bitter ramifications coming from across the city about the handling of the game by onfield official Nick Walsh and his VAR team, led by Willie Collum.
They appear unhappy not to be gifted a penalty-kick when images have shown their player was clearly offside in the incident.
NO ARGUMENT…Abdallah Sima is clearly offside at the incident that has got Ibrox bosses hot and bothered.
Celtic could add to the after match turmoil and controversy by asking explanations for three decisions that remain a mystery.
With the team looking forward to 2024 rather than lingering on the year that has just been consigned to history, CQN will ask the questions.
1: Why didn’t VAR take a closer look at the challenge from Connor Goldson on Paulo Bernardo that had left many observers in the mistaken belief the Portuguese midfielder was the culprit? It could have resulted in a straight red for the opposing centre-back.
2: Why were there no lines drawn to show David Turnbull was actually offside before he was clattered from behind by James Tavernier which would have resulted in a penalty-kick against the visitors who have been immune from such a punishment for almost two full years?
3: Did Collum and his assistants check the flailing arm from Dujon Sterling that flattened Matt O’Riley? It seemed an unnatural and unecessary action from the visiting player.
OVER THE TOP…the image clearly shows Connor Goldson instigating contact with Paulo Bernardo.
TAKE OFF…Connor Goldson screams while Paulo Bernardo’s feet remain firmly planted on the ground.
GROUNDED…Goldson holds his right knee for reasons known only to himself while Bernardo remains upright.
On the first point, Goldson went down grabbing his leg after his challenge on Bernardo, who had previously been booked for the heinous crime of celebating his bullet-like opening strike with the joyous home fans.
Old Hoops stalwart Peter Grant reviewed the flashpoint incident from his BBC Sportscene vantage point and said: “At first, I thought he [Bernardo] was going to be lucky, but when you look back at it it, it was Connor Goldson who gets lucky.
“He ends up going over the top of the ball. Paulo Bernardo drew out of it. Goldson is holding the top of his knee and I think he [Bernardo] was lucky he didn’t get a bad injury.”
ONSIDE? OFFSIDE? VAR left everyone in the dark as David Turnbull awaits the pass from Mikey Johnston.
On the second point, Turnbull had accepted a neat pass from Mikey Johnston in the box before he was manhandled to the ground by Tavernier.
Images show Walsh’s touchline assistant with a good view of the awkward challenge and with the flag remaining at his side. Turnbull looked to be in line with left-back Ridvan Yilmaz. VAR could have cleared up the confusion by drawing some lines.
The incident passed without too much arm-waving from the hosts or threats of wanting to listen in to VAR’s audio tapes of the occurrence.
As for the belt in the face that left O’Riley flattened with blood gushing from his nose, it was certainly worth a second look.
Only Sterling will know for sure if it was accidental or not, but it was an extraneous movement with his arm after the Celt had got a touch to the ball to take it off the Govan midfielder’s toes before getting a smack in the kisser.
BACKHANDER…Matt O’Riley takes one in the face from Dujon Sterling.
The game was held up for over two minutes as O’Riley received medical attention on the field before being led to the sidelines. Work continued to stem the profuse bleeding and he had to be provided with a fresh shirt and shorts before being allowed back on to continue his good work.
On another day with different officials, a punishment could have been meted out. We’ll cut Walsh some slack as it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it quickfire action, but Collum and Co sitting in front of multi screens in their Glasgow office might have flagged it up with action to follow.
So, the Hoops hierarchy would be quite within their rights to demand answers to some pertinent questions, but we have a twelfth title in 13 years to win and that remains the sensible focus at Parkhead.
* CQN wishes all our readers a Happy New Year and we hope 2024 brings you all you could hope for – on and off the field. Please take care, remain safe, stay healthy and be good to each other.