Penalty distribution defies explanation


As we discussed recently, there is zero point in you and me (or Celtic) claiming prejudice in refereeing, supporting evidence simply does not exist.  Bias is different, although it remains difficult to sustain with the hoary old “honest mistakes” retort.  The SFA defence for the Goldson incident is already in, although it does not cross the threshold set by the rules in my interpretation.

As we also touched on recently, we are all biased: you, me and even referees – all of us, without exception.  That means we will interpret incidents differently.  The Newco penalty on Monday being a perfect example.  Sakala’s foot landed on Carl Starfelt, how can Starfelt be penalised, many of us asked?  If it was the other way about, we would all have claimed the penalty, correctly.

Claims of bias are easy to defend at any given incident (see ‘honest mistakes’, above).  It is in the aggregate you get a picture of what is going on.  Since promotion to the Scottish Premiership in 2016, Newco’s penalty stats have differed from Celtic’s in a remarkable way.

In that period, Newco had to score 9.0 non-penalty goals for each penalty awarded.  Celtic have had to score 11.8 non-penalty goals for each penalty awarded, 31% more than Newco.

Celtic conceded 5.1 non-penalty goals for each penalty awarded against them.  Newco conceded 10.9 non-penalty goals for each penalty awarded against them, an incredible 212% higher figure.  The sample size of 6.5 years football is sufficient to expect random clusters to even out.

The Goldson incident on Monday is neither here nor there, it affected the outcome of a game but will not change the outcome of the season.  What should concern us is that a normal distribution of penalties decisions over 248 games (per team) does not exist.

As I said, there is no prejudice, but we are all biased.  The most successful clubs often see neutrals want them to lose, which is normal.  Celtic the most successful club in domestic football anywhere in the world in recent seasons, decent people will want us taken down a peg.  Referees, on the other hand, need to have a frank look at the penalty stats.  There is an anomaly with one glaring explanation.


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  1. GENE on 5TH JANUARY 2023 9:58 AM





    Actually, it was fine . I was only seeing the nurse but all the doctors seemed to be moving smoothly.



    Saint Stivs


    Big Jimmy with bunnet on right of picture. 😜”



    I was looking for you as well,BRRB but the look of the sky suggests it is after 11am. Search ended.

  3. Fans who were given early access were later thrown out after police made the discovery.






    This same police scotland are we talking about?





    It is the latest twist in an ‘abuse of power’ scandal which has already seen millions of taxpayer-funded damages payouts to those wrongly prosecuted by the Crown Office and Police Scotland.



    Mr Ahmad, commercial director at Ibrox during Green’s reign at the club, said in an email to the BBC that Rangers was a club “built on centuries of religious bigotry” and that he has “grave concerns about a defendant in this case being able to receive a fair trial anywhere in Scotland”.



    He also described Rangers fans as “a tribe” and accused Police Scotland of being “deeply rooted and immersed in Rangers Football Club’s history”. Mr Ahmad said in his email: “I was promised a letter by the Crown…by close of business 4 September 2015 which would also confirm that I would not be arrested at UK border control or by Police Scotland and could attend court on the 29 September 2015 to answer the warrant petition which I wanted to fully cooperate with.”

  4. I know many thousands of Huns sing sectarian songs at games but I have to say their response, or lack of, to our goals shows them in a more `normal` light.


    Also, I feel that the sectarian stuff is more out of habit than because of any real feeling by the vast majority. Religion is very much a minority `sport` in Scotland now and the prejudice is based on tradition and selfishness rather than outright bigotry.


    Now can we talk about Kilmarnock ? :-))

  5. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Nice one earlier from Big Jimmy



    Seems to be if you bring a weapon (baseball bat) to a Glasgow derby with the intention of cracking skulls of Celtic fans – you won’t be charged …



    … but heaven help you if you smoke a joint?


    (I assume the very act would mellow one sufficiently to not want to crack skulls?)

  6. I had heard rumours thar there was a bug and wondered how it might affect the lineup


    In the buildup to the match I watched Celtic do their warmup – it’s not something that I normally pay attention to


    Greg Taylor was doing his stretches and coughing non stop


    When Greg was getting treatment before being subbed he was again coughing and spitting and looked distressed


    I think maybe Ange has had to ask some players to go above and beyond just so we could get a team out

  7. The Bug Conspiracy.Why have we not been informed.


    Itsh a conshpirishy ah tellsh ye.,a conshpirishy !!!!!!!!.




    What a load of bollox.

  8. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    I suspect (but have no evidence) that the bug story is true.



    Why hasn’t it come out more?






    Ange doesn’t do excuses.



    Bugs, refs, the food, the beds.



    “Deal with it”



    If you devote energy to managing your excuses – that’s wasted energy that could have been deployed more effectively elsewhere.

  9. Anyone else waiting on tickets for Saturday’s game? I got some for a colleague and they haven’t arrived yet. If this is a Christmas/ issue then there will be a lot of guys travelling from Ireland who will need to pick up re-prints at the game, hence early arrival and queue at ticket office

  10. Rangers pal texts me.



    Red watch it’s a stonewaller.



    I had to remind him what Dermot said on Ref watch previously.






    Dermot = Rangers defo a red card.



    Dermot = Hearts defo a pen.



    Dermot = Celtic = reporter is that a pen = Dermot says in the premier league we’ve seen these given whereas in Scotland they’ve got a different tolerance level it would be in England 🤦‍♂️



    Sorry mate rules for pens isn’t any different in Scotland from any other country.



    Doesn’t commit but 100% adamant Hesrts is a pen and Rangers is a red card.

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