Referees, it’s OK not to be OK, but take some action


Odsonne Eduard’s injury against St Johnstone yesterday came about when defender Joe Shaughnessy raised his boot to stop Odsonne shot from 2 yards out.  The Celtic player’s shin caught Shaughnessy’s studs which were up to block the attempt at goal.  Edouard was injured, unable to continue.

This is one of those incidents that looks innocuous; Shaughnessy’s intent was to stop the shot, not to injury an opponent.  Referee, Willie Collum, took no action.

Let me take you back to the white heat of the title challenge in 2011.  Celtic travelled to Hamilton on 12 January that year.  Minutes after the break, James Forrest raised his boot to block a clearance from David Buchanan, Forrest’s studs catching Buchanan’s foot.  It was the same scenario as the Edouard- Shaughnessy incident yesterday – there was no intent, but the Hamilton player took a sore one, although he was able to continue.  The referee awarded Buchanan a foul and Forrest received a straight red card for dangerous play.  It the same referee.

I’ll be honest, I was annoyed when James Forrest was sent off for that incident 8 years ago, so my reaction was inhibited when Shaughnessy did the same during yesterday’s game.  But one of the decisions was wrong, clearly.  If raising your studs to block an opponent is a foul and dangerous play, Celtic should have been awarded a penalty for this incident (not to mention Ryan Christie’s kick in the ribs immediately beforehand), and Shaughnessy should have been sent off.

I don’t go on about refereeing here.  Standards improved after hitting an all-time low during the 2009-2011 seasons, when Celtic appeared to be punished on the field for making detailed complaints at that time.  The Forrest red card in 2011 took place six weeks after referees went on strike, two months after the Head of Refereeing was sacked and three months after referee, Dougie McDonald, admitted to the SFA Head of Referees that he lied to Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, an admission which led to a re-done match report that was eventually leaked on CQN.  There was chaos in the profession at that time, with conspiracies between referees and their assistants to adopt a fabricated version of events that proved impossible to maintain.

Changes were made and the game eventually improved.  Since then, of course, there has been no chance of league titles being decided by the vagaries of refereeing – only the outcome of cup games could be determined by overlooking a defender punching a shot off the goal-line.

Extraordinary decisions from officials took place at other grounds this weekend, so this is not an isolated incident.  After making progress, standards have regressed.  I get the feeling those responsible for standards are out of their depth, unsure what to do to improve things. The worst thing they could do is retrench into a bunker in order to protect their flanks.  To borrow a recently used phrase, it’s OK not to be OK.  Admitting as much is the first step to recovery.

Take some action.

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  1. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    James Forrest goal.


    Every time I see the replay , I wonder if his headlong lunge to get to the ball and score that vital goal is what resulted in his hamstring strain . One for the team , Jamesie.





    As Broonie and Goss are separated after Broonie is scythed down in the 80th minute , it is interesting to see the broad smile on Collum`s coupon as he is dishing out the yellow to Goss.


    Not a stern admonishment , a smile.

  2. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Evening all.



    Pablo – well written as always but not sure I can buy into the tone of this leader.



    1. Collum-Forrest. Without reverting to either memory or research, I am 100% certain that JF has been booked or sent off far more often by Collum than by any other ref.



    Collum simply doesn’t like Forrest.



    2. “I get the feeling those responsible for standards are out of their depth, unsure what to do to improve things”



    Then take them out of the process. Why aren’t those responsible for those responsible for standards doing something about it?

  3. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Call them out.



    A web page with a benign nonpartisan title e.g. “Transparency in Scottish football”.



    Ref name, picture, team supported, evidence.



    Then everyone post the link until it is viral.



    Someone claims ” honest mistakes” – post the link.



    Called “paranoid” on social media? Don’t respond, just post the link.



    Any contentious decision against the other 11? Go to MSM sites and post the link.



    Hail hail

  4. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    I like the sound of that .



    Any risk of legal challenges to contributors ?


    eg. cyber bullying .

  5. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    And while we are at it, how about a roll call of the renta gob uncle Tims who are routinely wheeled out by the establishment to reinforce O*d F*rm equivocation.



    Step forward Andy Walker, Stephen Conroy among others



    Hail hail

  6. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Macjay1 – cheers.



    Legal diificulty? Not really.



    Name and image already in public domain.



    The other two elements very often derived from something they (or idiotic staunch friends) previously posted online.



    No further P.I.I. or S.P.I revealed (if one wants to get all GDPR about it ! )



    Hail hail

  7. Trying to catch up on the Venezuela debate — as always some very interesting viewpoints being put across by a varied range of contributors.



    Couple of angles stand out and need further comment.



    No shortage of seemingly failing administrations in Central and South America over the ages — just a case that I can only remember one being highlighted on a regular basis in the U.K. media where a cottage industry has developed placing pre-packs into the public domain to reinforce the narrative of failure and the need for change.



    The links between Venezuela and the Europe regarding a steady stream of continentals who up sticks to make their fortune in South America — sometimes it was islanders fleeing from Franco, other times it was poundshop aristocrats carpet bagging their way into the middle class using their European education and skin tone.



    Oil industry with a closed shop employment strategy, European technocratic leadership and links to Curaçao and various EU oil companies — huge oil revenues for a century and it was still a divided society.



    The great desire by the US and the EU to get themselves involved in regime change with a country with an elected head of state leaves a bitter taste in the mouth — they first tried a more hands-on approach over 15 years ago that ended in failure with a huge public mobilisation — especially when selective amnesia plays such a big part in their decision making.



    I wonder why the EU didn’t boycott the USA and call for regime change in 2000 and 2016?


    Both GWB and DT gained power through elections that were a bigger affront to democracy than anything that has happened in Venezuela.



    What we are currently seeing is a disgruntled middle class now complaining that they are having to live a peasant / working class life and we have an active US power / establishment demonstrating that they never forgive and never forget.



    Chavez played a curve ball in that he came up through the military.


    It was so much easier when to get regime change you just bombed the presidential palace.

  8. Referee’s should be judged solely on their performance. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want to get at the heart of the problem consider this much, the powers that be stick by their referees poor performances come hell or high water which leads to the conclusion they are all corrupt one way or another.

  9. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on







    And well moderated .



  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    MADMITCH on 4TH FEBRUARY 2019 11:00 PM




    ” Both GWB and DT gained power through elections that were a bigger affront to democracy than anything that has happened in Venezuela ” .



    Why mention only those two and selectively omit Obama who was elected through precisely the same electoral process ?


    Going by your criteria , his election was also illegitimate.

  11. Spot on Bada.


    Problem is, Lanarkshire Referee’s (ex and present) and the power they wield at the SFA got too big for her drum. The anti Catholic bias beats loudly with the hard core in the corridors of SFA power but even they couldn’t keep up with Lanarkshire.

  12. Obama received more votes than his opponent.



    Trump received fewer votes than his opponent.

  13. The fix is in.


    Didn’t always believe it.


    But saw it in front of my own eyes at the 1970 Bobby Davidson Cup Final.


    Saw it again many times. Most notably the Dallas title decider in 1999.


    And when Dunfermline threw the title to them.


    Watched Bobby Tait rewarded for corrupt practices to cheat yet again at Ibrox. Didn’t work as planned.


    The cheating is so blatant now they must be having a laugh.


    What kind of affront must we be to their notions of entitlement?

  14. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    ERNIE LYNCH on 5TH FEBRUARY 2019 12:16 AM


    Obama received more votes than his opponent.




    Trump received fewer votes than his opponent.






    Irrelevant .



    If think that the US electoral system is flawed , then the election of Obama was just as illegitimate as the elections of all US presidents elected under that system , not just the presidents you disapprove of .

  15. Fritzsong


    I don’t dispute the fix is in, I doubt they have the wherewithal to see it out. The SFA’s referees have peaked too early in the season.

  16. If the US, UK and EU governments are so concerned about authoritarian and repressive regimes inflicting suffering on their own citizens, why aren’t they trying to oust the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Israel?


    Capitalists too busy trying to destroy the planet with their greed is good mantra.

  17. Former Celtic captain Tom Boyd has launched a withering attack on Scottish referees and called for ‘neutral’ match officials to be imported in order to improve standards he believes are at an ‘all-time low’.




    Boyd, pictured, made his unsparingly critical comments in the aftermath of a weekend which saw referee Andrew Dallas controversially award Rangers four penalties against St Mirren at Ibrox, while Willie Collum denied Celtic what their ex-skipper felt were two clear spot-kick claims against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.



    Now an official Celtic ambassador, Boyd insists the recent Scottish FA summit of Premiership managers and top-flight referees in Perth has failed to properly address the ongoing issues with the disciplinary process and standard of decision-making.



    Referencing the Scottish referees’ strike of 2010, which came in the wake of similarly intense criticism from Celtic and other clubs of match officials, Boyd would like to see further use of foreign referees in domestic fixtures. During that brief strike, the Scottish FA recruited officials from Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus to take charge of games.



    “There is something way wrong with the standard of officiating just now for whatever reason,” said Boyd. “It needs to be addressed and the only solution is to bring in the neutral referees who came in a few years ago and did ever so well.



    “When you look at some of the decisions in certain games, the standard of refereeing is certainly not up to scratch. The summit meeting did no good whatsoever when you see in one weekend the decisions which are unjustifiable in terms of what goes on on a football park.



    “I was very surprised Celtic didn’t get a penalty for the reckless challenge from Joe Shaughnessy on Odsonne Edouard. I do recall Willie Collum sending off James Forrest at Hamilton for a slightly lesser challenge, so there is no consistency in Mr Collum’s refereeing in a lot of Celtic games. That seems to be a massive problem just now.



    “All of the penalties at the weekend must have been given away on the Saturday rather than the Sunday. There were two penalty kicks within the same incident at Perth, because Ryan Christie was tackled on the chest just before Shaughnessy’s challenge on Edouard. The Oliver Burke incident earlier in the game was also a penalty as you can’t go through the player to play the ball.



    “They talk about things evening themselves up over the course of a season but I would need to wait about 100 years before they are evened up. You see the decisions which have been given, particularly at the weekend, where stonewall penalties were denied for us, where at another game [at Ibrox] the incident was outside the box yet it was given.



    “It’s something which brings us back to what Jock Stein said, that we need to be better than referees. Sometimes that can be very difficult. It’s inefficiency and incompetence and it could be any referee at this moment in time.



    “When I’m watching games, and Celtic games in particular because they’re the ones I see, they’re not offering protection towards Celtic players. I’ve seen two waist-high challenges on Edouard and neither were seen as fouls and that’s not acceptable.



    “I don’t think it’s sinister, I just think there’s bad referees, very poor in their decision-making. It’s happening consistently – players aren’t being afforded protection. The amount of challenges that are going unpunished from opposition players on Celtic players – I can recall Ryan Bowman [of Motherwell] on Kieran Tierney, I can recall Jason Holt [of Rangers] on Patrick Roberts that was a two-footed challenge from behind – no foul given. So it is something that needs to be addressed.



    “We’ve tried to address it – I believe the club are still looking for answers for the decisions from the derby game at the end of December and there haven’t been any solutions. It’s something we need to seek right away and the only solution I can see is bringing in neutral referees because the ones we have at the moment cannot handle the games, from what I’m seeing on the field.



    Steve Clarke wants people in authority to ‘sort out’ Scotland’s refereeing situation. Picture: SNS. Steve Clarke wants people in authority to ‘sort out’ Scotland’s refereeing situation. Picture: SNS.


    Steve Clarke steps up attack on standards of Scottish refereeing


    “Video assistants would help to a degree, but you’re still going to have the same people who’ll be making those decisions. Would video assistant referees help them? Who knows, if you’re still getting the same answers. You can get four guys seeing different things going by their opinions. That’s what seems to be happening.The inconsistency of refereeing is absolutely frightening.



    “It’s not just me who feels this way, it’s all the analysts on BT Sport, Sky, Premier Sports. We’re all in agreement the standard we’re seeing is at an all-time low in Scotland. Their interpretation seems to be different to other European referees.”

  18. Some say they are incompetent.


    Some say they are inconsistent.


    Some say they they are ensuring their future appointments.


    Some say they are biased.


    Some say they have no compunction.


    I say they are all of these and they have no need to conceal their motivation.


    We are competing in a sprint for the title and we are handicapped by wearing wellies while running in a lane covered in treacle.

  19. As big Jock used to say, ‘They can’t chalk them all off’.


    Or, for every 5 pens you get, we’ll score 10.


    Brendan knew, knew we needed a big squad.

  20. Is anyone annoyed Defoe is picking up a fortune from the Sevvies? Nah, me neither. Hope he puts a wee bit back when he’s at mass on Sunday though, god works in mysterious ways!

  21. P67,



    Of course yer right…it is all down to incompetence…the incompetence of the SFA, the incompetence of the SPFL and the incompetence of the individual clubs boards…not……it’s all about bias for one clumpany and the rest of us can fek off…


    ….I’ve watched as many SPFL games as I can this season and there is no doubt that there is a bias for anyone but Celtic winning this 8th….of course this bias can be split into both overt and covert…for me this is Celtic’s defining season…for our board to continuously say nothing except give us platitudes and sop statements until season ticket renewal time is not enough…or I’m out…I never bought into wrestling and am not prepared to buy into a sham when it comes to our national sport




  22. ‘GG on 5TH FEBRUARY 2019 2:36 AM



    The world has moved on.


    I say they are embarrassing themselves on the World stage.


    How long before other nations say, ‘surely this lot don’t deserve a place on IFAB’


    Theyre so out of touch.

  23. Yilligafbhoy


    How many ex SFA officials are now in positions in UEFA?


    As long as they have these people in Nyon, Sevco will be protected.

  24. ‘GG on 5TH FEBRUARY 2019 3:35 AM






    How many ex SFA officials are now in positions in UEFA?




    As long as they have these people in Nyon, Sevco will be protected.



    The Brotherhood WILL be broken, its on the cards. They are unwittingly being masters of their own downfall. Nothing stays the same, we’re just unfortunate as we’re closest to them. Money talks, and they aint got none.

  25. Me…am all for all clubs resigning from the SFA…am sure that will send shockwaves through world fitbaw….and setting up their own association. If that means no European fitbaw for top flight teams for a couple of years…so be it…we can take the hit