SFA damn outgoing Ref Head with commitment to improve


Yesterday, the SFA announced Head of Referee Operations, Crawford Allan, will leave the position at the end of the season.  The statement was tellingly lengthy and confirmed a few areas of concern.  Specifically, the departure “will effect a review of the existing role and remit to reflect the demands placed on it by the introduction and optimisation of VAR.”

VAR in Scotland was plagued by poor preparation ahead of its introduction in 2022.  Referee guidance was inappropriate and led to a spike in penalties from handball offences that perplexed most observers.

The reset button was pressed during the World Cup break in November and December 2022, following which referee guidance seemed to flip to an anything goes handball rule inside the box.  For some.

Poor preparation, no apparent monitoring and revision strategy, then an over-compensation when guidance was changed, all led to a sense that the Head of Referee Operations was built for simpler times.  This is Scotland, though, so poor performance did not lead to immediate consequences.  It looks like Allen was given time to get fixed up elsewhere.  This is how The System works.

SFA chief exec, Ian Maxwell, dammed with faint praise.  “The introduction of VAR has been a thankless task”.  Diplomatically put, but it need not have been so thankless.  Maxwell went on to say, “the VAR processes need to improve”, and holds what you and I could interpret as a white flag when it comes to “subjective areas such as the handball law.”

Allan himself appears to accept his key failure, “VAR is only one aspect of the role, albeit one that can overshadow the positive strides we have taken forward.”  So, VAR under the outgoing head was clearly not a positive stride forward.

A thankless task it may be but get the basics right.  Allowing VAR cameras to double as B-video for broadcasters was an enormous mistake, not repeated anywhere else in Europe, and led to a camera focussing on the dugout area, instead of watching the offside line when Jota scored at Fir Park.  Fuelling the fire, VAR disallowed the goal, despite not having the evidence.  Allan should have resigned the following morning for creating impossible circumstances for his officials.

His personal moment in the limelight came a year before VAR.  Celtic defeated Hearts 1-0 with a Kyogo goal, which, according to Allen on BBC Radio Scotland, should probably have been flagged for offside.  He may be right, it was a tight call, but there was no definitive camera angle, so all we can rely on to truly inform us is out heart’s desire.

The incident was the only time he publicly cut across his officials and came at a time when Ange Postecoglou’s side were metamorphosising from a midtable disaster into table toppers.  Celtic fans were rightly concerned that the SFA had regressed to their old ways.

What comes next is the important question.  Newco have openly been locked in a battle for control of the SPFL for some years; lobbying happens and works.  The Head of Referee Operations position is not the best renumerated position at the SFA but it is its most influential.  We should be concerned.  Maybe I should apply.

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  1. Brendan Rodgers is a Mikey Johnston fan – he does not want to see Mikey Johnston sold. He gave him a chance to thrive “on loan” away from the fans who had largely written him off.




    James Forrest had to go through the same thing every year of his Celtic career. Now, I don’t know if Mikey has the same resilience as James showed but he’ll need it because I hear every week what the fans think about both players. They are actively disliked and not rated as Celtic class by a large proportion of match day attenders. I travel by train and I hear the comments both before and after matches.




    When either has appeared the view is “How far have we sunk when we are looking for Mikey/Jamesie to save things?”. Even if they perform well- they get faint praise only- “How bad must Kuhn/Yang/Maeda/Palma be if they get a game ahead of them?”




    I want to see Mikey get one last chance. He will only fetch a large fee if he thrives for longer than a few weeks. He has had a great start but he is under contract for a long time. We do not need to sell.

  2. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    “we should be concerned “.



    My thoughts exactly. Would anyone be surprised if Bobby Madhun got the gig or Beaton gets promoted?



    If Celtic and the didi teams have any sense, they should be lobbying for someone from England or overseas to get the job.

  3. Head of refereeing in Scotland; promoting from within would be the SFAs favourite / default approach, which leads to Andrew Dallas and Bobby Madden.



    Dallas will be the favourite, Bobby is disqualified for reffing as if we were still in the 1970s and also wearing black teashirt and shorts in our local Morrison…




  4. Fantastic article.


    Lots to ponder.


    I note that Bobby Madden has been fairly vocal of late. They wouldn’t dare, would they?


    I always assumed they preferred to ‘cover their work’

  5. Happy Birthday St Stivs,hope you have a great day,with your famiy and friends,keep on keepin on



    A happy birthday also to Josephine Cairney,100 years old today,St Vincents parishioner,and as sharp as ever.God bless her,have a great day in your wee home,enjoy the visit today from all your friends.




  6. bigrailroadblues on

    Happy birthday St Stivs ya Port rascal. And also to Josephine Cairney. They breed them tough in Thornliebank. 😉

  7. If the SFA have any sense!?



    They’d be looking at PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials) to help support their review of VAR.



    They have many professionals on Board, have had there own “teething” problems to deal with, and will help insulate the SFA from the pressure R2ngers will bear down on them to ensure “normal” service is resumed.









    The Lanarkshire Referee’s Association



    No brainer really, the smart move, a ready made go to solution….



    So, LRA it is then:))))



    Hail Hail

  8. lets all do the huddle on

    there was an incident during saturdays killie st mirren game shown on ref watch or sportscene querying whether a penalty should have been given.



    a st mirren player got to the edge of the box in a good position, he had a couple of defenders in front of him.



    so what did he try to do from that good position?



    beat the defender?






    play in a team mate for an attempt at goal?



    no, he just flicked the ball up towards the nearest defenders arm to try get a penalty.



    it did hit the defenders arm but no penalty which was correct.



    but thats the level the game is being dragged down to by players and coaches with no ability.



    dont try anything positive or skillful, just flick the ball up to try get a penalty



    so if you ever think Sky undervalue our game then just think of that incident







    Should have stopped there:))



    Hail Hail

  10. “If Celtic and the didi teams have any sense, they should be lobbying for someone from England or overseas to get the job.”



    Jeff Winter, if Andrew Dallas or Bobby Madden don’t get it.

  11. In football authority is there any such thing as ranking of referee association s.



    Is there an org considered the best ?



    Will the hiring reach out to the best and ask them to apply?



    I know the answer




    The HQ for Hoops fans for this event will be the game host of the DCCSC:


    Ireland’s Four Courts


    2051 Wilson Boulevard,


    Arlington, Virginia, 22201


    Tel: 703 525 3600





    DCCSC Twitter: https://twitter.com/CSCWashingtonDC



    Please DO NOT try to use the DCCSC’s old web site, http://www.dccsc.com. It has recently been taken down in favour of twitter.



    The following information is very preliminary, and will be updated as events firm up.


    Possible itinerary:


    Friday July 19


    Morning. Podcast with Q and A


    Afternoon. Celtic trivia quiz.


    Evening. There will be a band, and the pub and DCCSC will host other CSCs. We may have a guest speaker or two, hopefully a Club ambassador.


    Saturday July 20


    Brunch ( liquid or otherwise )😊


    Band pregame concert 3:00-6-00


    Metro, Bus, or Uber to game.


    Sunday July 21


    Brunch with Club ambassadors if available.



    The pub will also work with some of the many hotels in the immediate area to obtain favourable rates for Celtic fans. Further details TBA. If you haven’t been to Washington in July, it is normally very hot and humid, with occasional severe thunderstorms.



    For background information on our HQ and genial host, here are a couple of TV news items broadcast on St. Patrick’s Day.




    Iniquitous IV 😊







  13. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Remember Madhun cheated us in the semi final a couple of years ago, the huns knew it was his last game,and proceeded to kick %$#@ out of us,Aribo and Bassey should have been red carded.He has been whoring himself out to SMSM recently, begging for a job…







    What’s Hugh Dallas up to these days?

  14. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Celtic’s clash with Man City will take place on July 23 at the Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill

  15. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to arrange Celtics next game to be played at 12.00pm on Easter Sunday ?

  16. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Bada – that was his farewell gift from the SFA. Remember he announced he was moving to England shortly after it.



    I remember watching it in shock as it was the most biased refereeing performance since Beaton did a number on us at Ibrox. He then trolled us with his Happy Easter” tweet.



    The Celtic hierarchy should rewatch that game. If there’s the slightest rumour that Madhun is in with a shout they should kick up merry hell.

  17. Bada Bing



    Re Hugh Dallas he is 67 come October , been treated for cancer and works for Turkish FA , a return to Scotland would on the face of it be so wrong at many different levels.



    Football can be crazy but surely not that crazy !

  18. !!Bada Bing!! on

    EKBHOY- Thanks for reply…..you might have answered your own question, would rule nothing out with this corrupt organisation

  19. garygillespieshamstring on

    BRRB from last thread



    Your Bullfrog Blues link sent me down a Rory Gallagher rabbit hole for an hour earlier.



    An hour we’ll spent.

  20. Blogger Formerly known as GM



    Madhun did not last long in England eh!! Seem to recall he was heavily criticised in championship.



    Was listening to radio yest,the english referee now doing Gladiators was being touted.




  21. Whoever gets the top gig, one thing for sure is he’ll be a fully paid up member of “The Ludge” and anti Celtic into the bargain. As sure as Dolly Parton sleeps on her back





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