Sympathy for the ref, cynicism for SFA


Yesterday’s referee Craig Thomson is getting it from all quarters but I have some sympathy for him.  He saw the Scott Brown tackle and took no action.  The challenge was executed with extreme force but also with laser-like accuracy.  It didn’t injure or foul anyone.

Aiden Connolly dived to win Dundee United’s penalty.  Thomson could not have seen an infraction, because there wasn’t one, but when a player attempts to con a referee like this, it’s impossible for the ref to get it right all the time.

Virgil got involved with Butcher, both players on the ground, carelessly kicking away.  Both should have been cautioned.  Fifa guidelines entitle the referee to interpret this behaviour as a sending off offence, if he deems it appropriate- however, Thomson didn’t see it and took no action until his assistant, Graham Chambers, got involved.

It was evident from the length of time Thomson spoke to Chambers that the assistant was getting the third degree on what he claimed to have seen.  The ref asked several questions of his assistant to verify how sure he was of what he saw.  It was clear this was not corroborated by the Thomson’s own account.

Neither of them saw Nadir Ciftci kick Scott Brown on the head.  I didn’t see it either until I watched the incident a couple of times.

Chambers got things spectacularly wrong.  Like most others he missed the worst incident (Ciftci), advised the referee into red carding two players who should have been cautioned, and, to demonstrate how flustered he was, failed to notice which United player he put his arm on and led away from the action.

When a referee has an assistant, and a player like Connolly, to work with, he’s going to have a bad day.

As far as retrospective action is concerned: Scott Brown is in the clear, the referee saw what he did and was happy with it.  Ciftci presumably will be banned for violent conduct.  Connolly should be banned for simulation, unless Ronny is right that this rule applies only when players wear green and white hoops.  Paton should have his red card rescinded.

Virgil van Dijk has a case to have his red card reduced to a yellow – however – this being the SFA, I don’t think that will happen, as he is tied to Calum Butcher’s situation, and that is more complex.  If Virgil has his card reduced to a yellow, so too should Butcher, but Butcher was later booked – which would have been his second yellow.

A player who the assistant referee intended to remove from the field would not have been on to receive his booking had the assistant not nabbed the wrong player.  He also didn’t have the benefit of taking his caution into account.

The SFA will stick their fingers in their ears and insist the assistant’s initial interpretation was right, just to avoid the unholy mess of banning Butcher for two yellow cards while not banning the Celtic player, or deciding that Butcher’s (actual) yellow card should be ignored due to the player unfairly missing out on a caution.

Countdown is on to Friday night’s CQN11 St Patrick’s Dinner at the Kerrydale Suite, tickets will be in the post today.

Between now and then you can win a Celtic jersey signed by the 2008 squad, who won one of the most remarkable titles in our history.  All proceeds go towards building a fourth CQN school kitchen in Malawi for Mary’s Meals.

It’s been humbling watching people come forward and do their bit in recent weeks.  Tickets cost £5 each, you know how valuable this is to those kids and families in Malawi.  Buy your ticket here, or click the link at the bottom of that page to buy a book of tickets.

Friday’s programme is about to go to press…  The wee guy with the spoon is not from a stock photo, he’s been served at a kitchen YOU PAID FOR last year.  Stunning stuff.

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  1. Someone suggests that Butcher should have intervened and told ref that he should be sent off instead of Paton.


    Maybe he does not think himself guilty of anything and does not necessarily know why Paton is receiving a red card.



    At best, the officiating was grossly incompetent ……….they missed the worst incident when Brown was kicked in the face.



    I think Jackie was being cute when he deplored the state of the pitch in pre match interview ……. His team had trained on it during the week.

  2. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Referees in Scotland ,know exactly their role in relation to refereeing Celtic games,sympathy? You’re having a a laugh.

  3. mike in toronto on




    normally, I think you are right. But what we are talking about here is not the normal ‘ref made a bad call situation’… this are the same people, making the same bad calls, against the same team (only almost only against that one team) … this is a systemic problem, which must be addressed both on the park, and at an administrative level…. that latter point is not with RD’s ambit (although I wish it was … he has shown more fire in his belly in his short time here than the Board have in many a year).

  4. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on

    Celtic will wipe the floor with Dundee Utd in Sunday’s League Cup Final. You heard it here first.

  5. The ref set the tone for the match when he should have booked the du player McGowan?


    for his bad tackle on AS.


    Sorry Paul l have no sympathy for Thomson either.

  6. Geordie Munro on




    The compliance officer and the ref will get together and we’ll all be happy at the outcome.



    Honest :)




  7. Virgil goes a little over the ball, studs showing. The speed and circumstances allow me to forgive this as unintentional. That was my take on it. Probably means the SFA will uphold the red card.



    Browns challenge was far too hard. There’s far too much of it in Scotland, and usually our players are the victims. There is a level of aggression in Scottish football which filters down through all levels and, coupled with dreadful playing surfaces, reduces our national sport to nothing more than glorified rugby (a truly worthless sport).



    Canalmar! What an ingenious bit of trolling from you today, conflating Lawells entirely correct assertion that there are no links between Celtic and republican causes (beyond the tangential) and Kris Commons comments about some challenges at the game yesterday. Brilliantly insane. The madder you get the funnier it is… except, I’ve usually got more compassion that to find that kind of mental unraveling amusing. Fingers crossed for you.

  8. Dharma…,


    If Paul was so affronted I’m sure I’d have heard, not sure why you feel you need to speak for him, or is it the case having a dig at me was you overriding priority ?

  9. The Green Man on

    mike in toronto



    RD is doing his bit….PL cant even deflect a question from an idiot hun journo.


    And…..we will always be better than the cheats:)




  10. As to the rest of it, we saw it, it’ll get dealt with… if this is the most excitement we’re going to get…

  11. Natknow



    My lad now 34 played at Junior level. Scored the winner in a Cup Final.



    His old manager in a newspaper article had him in as a sub in a team of the best players he had ever managed. Lack of application being his reason not technical ability which he has in abundance. He still plays amateur football and when on the ball there is always the expectation of something different.



    He hates poor surfaces and he has played on plenty. A poor surface requires players to take one more touch than on a good surface and at the higher level this extra touch is enough to have you closed down or team mate closed down.



    It makes a huge difference to the quality of play and clubs with poor surfaces should be made to refund a percentage of the gate to the paying supporter.

  12. Geordie Munro on




    From memory, I think the ball is nicked away from Virgil just before he makes contact but he’s already started his tackle.



    Slowed down it looks worse than it is.




  13. United have officially submiited their appeal for Paton. A Judicial Panel is expected to consider the case on Thursday, March 12 meaning Paton will be free to play in the League Cup final against Celtic on March 15



    I’m guessing the same would( or should) apply to Virgil?

  14. izzy to blame for the penalty…what goes thru that wee guys mind at times


    the boy dived but if izzy had a brain on there he wouldn’t have got the ball.



    browns challenge was hard nothing more, but what if he’d been injured for 8 weeks, where would that have left us..i’d have been disappointed if he hadn’t challenged tho.



    VVD needs to keep the heid….his offence may have been a yellow.



    DUnited players wanted to scrap from the first whistle…the disgraceful challenge on stokes set the tone.



    cifti is an animal.


    butcher should get a red too.



    what will happen?



    brown – retro red


    VVD – red upheld



    cifti – nothing


    paton – recinded unfortunately


    butcher – retro red for balance…so we cant say its all against us.



    losing us 2 of our most influential players, and Dundee United none.



    operation stop the treble is in full defcon 1 mode

  15. excathedra44 on



    14:04 on


    9 March, 2015





    Particularly Thompson,classic example yesterday was dangerous free kick on edge of 18yd line ,shortly after Griffiths fouled same place but at goal we were attacking,no foul.



    The entire reporting method is flawed,referees should be instructed to write report after game,no collusion ,and no opportunity to review or be influenced by TV.



    The entire set up is a shambles.I intend writing to John Fleming ( again).

  16. Binty…,


    Imagine you crawling out from under your turd to have a go at me, that is pathetic

  17. Geordie Munro,



    That’s how it looked to me too. Looked bad in replays, but, I don’t see him intending to go over the ball. However, I think it will mean his card stands.

  18. The Green Man on

    Bring it on….the more they cheat….the better Celtic will get:)


    We will trash United….for fun.


    Those honest mistakes will annoy our bhoys, teams will cop it.


    C,mon the hoops.


    Craig Thompson do you worst.




  19. Long shot I know but looking for a couple of spares for Sunday, ideally a parent and a child or any 2 seats together. If anyone can help then I can be contacted by email. Paul67 should have my address



    Myself and Leaf junior have our tickets but this is for a good friend and his wee Bhoy



    Looks like tickets still available for season ticket holders if not already taken.

  20. Probably a daft question (to which I think I already know the answer), but just in case I’m wrong: will the replay have the same set of match officials … ?




  21. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on






    I agree with this frustration.



    At the game yesterday an example of these sleekit interventions nearly squeezed my brain out through my ears.



    Early, one of the Utd defenders climbed up and over LG planting him face down on the pitch with Utd taking the ball away. Play away.



    Later with Celts pushing to prevail, Jason did exactly the same to a Utd player to head the ball clear. Whistle, free-kick to Utd. Ball doesn’t move for forty seconds.



    See them every game.

  22. Geordie Munro on




    If the one with Griffiths is the one I think you mean I thought the same until I seen the game again.



    Griff didn’t win the ball in any of the challenges.



    Might be a different one you mean though.




  23. Green Man 13:47.



    That an an inability to operate with the £ that comes as incomes.Hence they cheat.


    there is ‘the entitlement’ to be paid for,a new layer of which is goin in just now.



    Sad thing is it would say something if the SFA said something,


    aye!,the same SFA that overseen the cheating in the first place and the same SFA who CEO initiated the Discount option scheme in 1998/9.A governing body who were part of the cheating.unfit for purpose in my view.



    excuse my haver mate:-) but as you say rules dont matter,they cheat,its in them.their heritage.



    i am sure our Ltd free press plcs will out it.




  24. Meanwhile in the Magic Kingdom, 62,000 fans turned out to see Kaka score a last minute equalizer for Orlando in their inaugural game against New York City at the Citrus Bowl.


    Yes 62,000.


    Probably the biggest crowd of the weekend, even surpassing Sevco’s home attendances this season.


    Referee Alan Kelly booked 3 New York players for diving, something which they probably learned in training from Claudio Reyna.


    MLS also announced agreements with ESPN and Fox which will quadruple their TV revenues to between $75 and $90 million a season.


    In a 20 team league that will mean a minimum of close to $4 million dollars to each team from TV.


    Now at a time when Regan and Co are mealy mouthed at best about our game, don’t you think someone from Hampden should be dispatched to have a chat with them to learn a few lessons on promoting Scottish football instead of talking it down?

  25. Unless I’m mistaken, your comment in question doesn’t sound like you’re being very polite to the person on whose blog you’re posting.

  26. Perhaps if Virgil appeals his red the beaks will decide “not proven”.



    Well it’s happened before!

  27. The Green Man on

    An Tearman



    Anybody with eyes, can see how they revel in cheating and corruption.


    They are proud of the fact.


    They see it as their birthright.


    Let us cheat they squeal.


    But I can say, their stupidity is beyond the realms of the absurd.


    Huns complain about being called huns,….but they don’t mind screaming racist sectarian bile.


    Fools, Idiots, and Fantacists..


    Ive never laughed so loud, as I have recently.


    Bring it on:)




  28. playfusbal4dguilders on

    please all bare in mind that the CP pitch is as bad as most just now.



    If fact it may be worst as it look better than it is.



    It has no root strength at all and gave way numerous times in the recent match v St J.


    Very dangerous for ankles and hamstrings.




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