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. Thanks for the positive feedback ghuys.



    Madmitch, yes, it very much seemed like someone had a word in Dougie McDonald’s ear and it wasn’t Steven Craven. I’m sure the fourth official had a look at the replay. If refs are miked up a recording should be available of what is said.



    However, the lie he used to cover things up i.e. running over to Steven Craven and pretending he’d been called over by him and that it was Craven that had made the call was disgraceful. Then you have the head of refereeing, the review panel, the SFA President and uncle Tom Cobbly et al supporting the cheating.



    Your memory of the incident is slightly different to mine…



    As Bada Bing states, there were two penalties, the first when Kenneth, DU’s big young CH barges Hooper, Hooper loses his balance the keeper comes out but Hooper regains his balance, the keeper is committed and dives across Hooper who flicks the ball away from the GK. The GK takes Hooper out. Dougie McDonald was in a great position to see it and initially got it right.



    Two stonewallers… yet something impelled McDonald to go back on the decision. I’d say the fourth official and the TV replay… but he got it wrong, he saw what he wanted to see, it was Hopper’s foot that took the ball away from the keepers hand not the other way around.



    The point is, it looked farcical and ridiculous, the same way Andrew Dallas’s penalty decisions did on Saturday. It makes a mockery of the game and it’s because these guys are not very good refs, when you add the other layer of processing that the cheating requires they often just get things so wrong.



    However this time round we are seeing a different reaction. Steve Clark, Tom Boyd, ex-ref Conroy etc etc coming out saying something must be done.



    Of course we shouldn’t hold our breath and the dog whistling will continue but maybe, just maybe the cheats will be forced to change.



    Professional refs are a must…



    Hail Hail

  2. I realise that tomorrow`s game, like all games against packed defences, could prove quite difficult. If, however, we manage to go three goals ahead, I would not be at all surprised to be then awarded a soft penalty just to show that these things even themselves up, you know.

  3. Hot Smoked……..



    Agreed. That’s the way it works…………sleekit.



    Thems get them when they need them.



    Something will be done about it when scoddland stops sniggering at it. God knows what it might take for that to happen tho’.

  4. The SPFL should approach Professional Game Match Officials Limited to referee our top tier and League Cup games.


    The SFA referees can continue to referee matches run under the jurisdiction of the SFA. If any of them are good enough I’m sure PGMOL will make them job offers.

  5. I had a bottle of 19 Crimes, The Uprising, Red wine on Saturday and enjoyed it so much, I had a little look on Google. This made me smile:



    ” Story behind the label: A Fenian Exile from Skibbereen Ireland who took a prominent part in the Fenian movement from its very infancy. Arrested in 1864, found guilty and sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude.”


    The history adds to the taste !



  6. BSR & BB


    Thanks for the comments.


    If we do manage ten in a row,will the cheating stop because they have failed or is it in their DNA ?


    If the former, it would seem very strange to sit in Celtic park watching Scottish Officials referee fairly . Spooky .




  7. Is is Big Packy’s Birthday?…nae luck it’s nae mark’s also…tho surprisingly it’s also Christiano Ronaldo’s…hoopy happy birthday ya auld bassa ;-))

  8. Genuine question…can clubs push/force their Association to provide referee’s outwith the associations juristiction?



    askingfurafriend ;-))



    Who jist happens to b a Grade 1 ref in Éireann

  9. Celtic to be made an example of tomorrow night.



    Players off and penalties galore to Hibs.



    Well ,we did ask for stronger refereeing!

  10. Well done Tom Boyd. WE need to keep highlighting this issue. They are incompetents but they are also cheats, the two contrasting performances at the weekend proves it beyond any reasonable doubt.


    Expect that they will now give us a couple of dodgy decisions probably in a game where we don’t need one so they can say it evens itself out.

  11. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    HOT SMOKED on 5TH FEBRUARY 2019 10:21 AM


    I realise that tomorrow`s game, like all games against packed defences, could prove quite difficult. If, however, we manage to go three goals ahead, I would not be at all surprised to be then awarded a soft penalty just to show that these things even themselves up, you know.





    In which case , it would be marvellous if we refused to take it , indicating that the ref had made a wrong call .



    Now that would publicise the issue.

  12. Thanks Chairbhoy and others for excellent insight.



    I don’t know why it’s taken me so long, but I watched Paul Larkin’s Anyone But Celtic film last night.



    I had heard a lot recently on Celtic sites about the Lanarkshire Referees Association but Paul goes into a lot of detail about the LRA and to say it makes you think a wee bit harder and reflect on systematic establishment masonic corruption, well that’s an understatement (even for an old paranoid cynic like me whose first Scottish Cup Final was “The Bobby Davidson” one in 1970 – one of the games that Paul strongly focuses on).



    I never knew that the decision to change the scheduled ref for Dundee v Hearts in ’86 was taken only 3 days before the game without official explanation. The replacement ref was Bill Crombie, a Hearts fan from Edinburgh.



    I played for, then ran a Sunday amateur football team in Edinburgh in the 80s. When Bill retired he would help out with refereeing amateur games in his locality (typically Riccarton Heriot Watt Campus near Currie where he comes from). I didn’t know him overly well but he came across as an absolute gentleman. He still gets stick from Jambos for not giving what they regarded as a stonewaller that day. Despite his football background, Bill was a bad choice for them.



    The replacement of the referee is unexplained – what is incredible is that of all the replacement choices the SFA had, in such a season-defining game, they chose a Hearts supporter from Edinburgh.



    Anyone But Celtic indeed.



    Go and watch this on YouTube if you haven’t already.

  13. 50 shades of green on

    We will do well to get free flowing fast passing football played on Wednesday night, with that idiot Thompson reffin it, stop start fitba is his game.

  14. TULLY57 @ 11:06 AM,



    Thanks and excellent post. Interesting insight into the game and to my shame I haven’t seen all Paul Larkin’s documentaries – need to do that.



    HOT SMOKED @ 10:21 AM,



    The issue is things have got so complex.



    I understand fholk wanting stats and incidents to prove the point but it’s too convoluted.



    Since Sevco Rangers have reached the top division the targets have constantly changed…



    Wright from St Johnstone moaning about decisions, then MacInness from Aberdeen, Lenny at Hibs, Levein at Hearts and then a Statement from Celtic of course now Kilmarnock are getting the brunt of it and Steve Clarke is speaking out…



    The fact is, you have to look at when and where these complaints happen.



    It’s when teams are challenging Sevco Rangers for second place &/or a European berth.



    Of course St Johnstone is no longer seen as a threat and now get the decisions against Celtic.



    Likewise Kilmarnock would get preferential treatment against say Hibs, now it would be the other way around.



    In the Seasons when Sevco thought they had no chance of catching Celtic, we were even getting the decisions against their perceived opposition – Aberdeen and thr Hibees… thats when Sevco desperately wanted and were struggling to get a European berth.



    So how do you work all that out? When the SPL, SFA and SMSM will keep schtum about Mr 4 Penalties, should’ve been five…



    You only need to see the way Defoe’ s diving has been reported, commented on. Remember when Sinclair got a penalty against Motherwell (legitimately) and the last defender was sent off… he was ridiculed for weeks for going down too easily, devastating the young defender… who had maimed M. Dembele.



    No the right approach is highlighted by Steve Clarke… point out the inconsistencies, offer more protection for players, be consistent with match officiating in the rest of Europe. Then as Brendan Rodgers says, bring in full time professional match officials.






    TERJE VIGEN @ 10:30 AM,



    “The SPFL should approach Professional Game Match Officials Limited to referee our top tier and League Cup games”



    If we get professional referees, consistency in decision making and with the rest of Europe, protection for football players and VAR. It will make it much more difficult for the likes of Beaton and Dallas…



    Unless there like get sidelined it will still go ahead, but no way will the blatant cheating that has recently gone on at Ibrox be allowed to flourish.



    Hail Hail

  15. Chairbhoy



    No question the cheating has gotten worse the closer ‘the gap’ has become see John Beaton at Ibrokes they diverted because of alleged text messages ( Any charges? BTW) set up by Level5 leaving a phone number handy, and the gap didn’t exist with Cheating Rainjurz and our game at Tannadice in the days of McDonald and Dallas snr.



    Rainjurz and Sevco free days for four seasons of ‘the journey’ has only made them more determined to make Sevco the same as Rainjurz . A perception of a closing the gap has galvanised the brotherhood and their klanbase, where they boast about bluenoses in power. Tom Boyd didn’t say what he said without running it by Heated Drive Bhoy and the board IMHO



    We will not be cheated differently CSC




    Famous in Europe for his’ Officiating ‘ of Borussia Dortmund 3 -Malaga 2 in 2013 .


    Spanish TV gave him these accolades –










    Owner of Malaga was less flowery . He said — ” He’s a cheat “

  17. WITS


    I did, indeed, find it intereasting. That `adventure` would make for a good film. Has there been one?




  18. I don`t know what, if anything , the MSSM is saying about Timo Weah. I am certain, though, that were he to have signed for Sevco, that Media would be gushing like Niagra.



  19. What is the Stars on

    Hot Smoked



    Friend of mine did a one man play on it which was relatively successful in Dublin Theatre scene about 20 years ago


    Sounds crazy to do a one man show on such an epic adventure but he did it and did it very well.

  20. Steve Clark I applaud you sir , and so should every other decent football fan irrespective of who you support . How much longer is this sham going to be allowed to go on , how long before other clubs say enough is enough . How long before OUR club takes a stand . Celtic football club are hated in this country . Celtic fc are the main recipient,s of attack . The malice towards us is well orchestrated, and defended by low life’s purporting to be sports journalists , it’s time Desmond ,lawell .bankier and co .grew a set ,and took them on once and for all .

  21. WITS


    Thanks again.


    As you said, a one man show capturing those events is hard to imagine but a talented performer could make it work. Sounds like your mat managed to do so.


    Thanks again but cheerio for now,



  22. Re the refs…



    Steve Clarke and Tom Boyd, well said, we need more honest contributors to this debate.



    Anyone heard from big Sutton on this issue ? Haven’t come accross anything.



    As another poster has mentioned Paul Larkin’s anyone but Celtic is an eye opener into the inner workings of the refereeing fraternity in Scotland, well worth a watch.




  23. Might be a bit late with this post, the caravan waits for no one :))





    Hugo Chávez



    Under his regime…



    Poverty dropped by 50%



    Extreme poverty fell by 75%



    Infant mortality rates were significantly reduced.



    Employment increased substantially.



    In the main this was funded by the nationalisation of the countries oil reserves , this was intolerable to the US and it’s corporations hence the campaign to have him removed. Some US media outlets said he was as big a threat to world peace as Hitler was.



    Firstly because it was representative of an alternative to the capitalist system that serves the minorities who control it so well.



    Secondly there were vast profits to be made from the country’s oil reserves of which a number of privately owned companies were doing very well from before Chávez turned up as president.



    As far as his control of the media in Venuzuela. That is a big stretch considering much of the country’s media was openly very critical of him and his policies.



    Along with the US ,they openly supported the successful military coup opposing Chávez in 2002, yet when he regained control he let them continue to broadcast, not overly controlling imo.



    This media vilification escalated to the extent that some ( RCTV in particular ) were calling for him to be forcibly removed by another armed military coup. It was only then that Chávez intervened and closed them down.



    Interesting to read the different viewpoints, thought I’d chuck my two bob’s worth in.




  24. succulentlambstinks on

    Tons of posters talking the talk but not walking the walk.


    What are you going to do about it ?


    Nothing is the answer.


    God bless Steve Clark. The biggest balls in Scotland.


    So no point moaning about Masonic refs, waste of your thumb power because Celtic have zero balls and neither do the support.


    Strike cups blah blah


    don’t go to humpden blah blah


    don’t go to away games blah blah


    We are as much at fault coz we KNOW our club are gonna do zilch. So let’s just accept the corruption and the refs and move on to oblivion.

  25. Have watched Tim O’s goal from Sunday a 100 times. Just can’t get enough All 3 of Sinky, Cal Mac & Tim O dis brilliantly. However just look at Cal Mac, he heads the ball clear from his 6 yard line is making his way out of box when he spots the break and just takes off, & when he does get the ball what a peach of a cross. Cal Mac my player of the year.




    And Calmac left the guy who was chasing him miles behind!



    Great awareness, fitness and ability.



    Player of the year is going to be a tough choice!