REFEREE Willie Collum has been bowled over TWICE by Celtic’s performances this season – quite literally.
The whistler has been flattened on two occasions by Hoops players in Premiership outings – and, amazingly, the duo have escaped a card.
Most of the onlookers missed a coming together of Collum and James Forrest in the champions’ 4-0 weekend win over Aberdeen at Parkhead when the match official was sent crashing to the turf.
CRASH…James Forrest races towards referee Willie Collum as Sead Haksabanovic prepares to get into position to swing in a left-wing cross.
BANG…Forrest and Collum collide as Haksabanovic prepares to fire in a cross.
WALLOP…Collum is left on the deck as Forrest moves on and Liel Abada is about to let fly.
WHAT A GOAL…Collum is back to his feet, Forrest looks on and Abada races away after netting the fourth goal.
It was an accidental collision in the build-up to the fourth goal as the hosts put together some passes on the left. Sead Haksabanovic fought and won possession and Forrest moved inside.
Unfortunately, Collum was right in line as the Scotland international darted into space and down went the ref. All eyes were on the move and Haksabanovic picked out Liel Abada with a sweeping ball inside and the Israeli winger finished with a rasping first-time drive.
Collum recovered just in time to see the ball hit the net and he signalled for a goal.
After the final whistle, Forrest and the ref were seen enjoying a joke before the players and officials left the field.
It was a similar situation in West Lothian on October 30 when Ange Postecoglou’s men won 3-0 against Livingston.
Celtic were breaking upfield when Aaron Mooy clattered into the official and once more Collum was decked.
Australian media outlet Fox Sports viewed the clash in a fairly unsympathetic manner, as CQN reported at the time.
COLLISION COURSE…Aaron Mooy clatters into referee Willie Collum in Celtic’s 3-0 win at Livingston in October.
They flagged up the incident and remarked: “Aaron Mooy has been chiming in with plenty of assists – three in his last two league matches – but this time, his greatest highlight was a hilarious run-in with referee Willie Collum.
“Half an hour into the match Almondvale, Celtic tried to break from their own penalty area for a quick counter-attack. But as Mooy tried to get in on the action, his path was blocked by the whistle blower.
“The Australian – never afraid of a tough tackle – absolutely flattened the referee, sending him tumbling to the turf with proper hip-and-shoulder.
“Luckily, Collum quickly rebounded to his feet, and was able to laugh off the incident, sharing a lighthearted word with the midfielder as he ran back to position.”
To be fair to the much-maligned match official, he did not complain on either occasion. In fact, there wasn’t even a peep. However. he may be sweating on his next assignment involving the champions.
And surely, there can be no truth in the rumour that Forrest and Mooy are neck and neck in the race for several supporters clubs’ Player of the Year award?