We don’t have a dog in the fight over refereeing standards at last night’s League Cup game at Ibrox. Livingston and even the perennial Ibrox media holdouts were aghast at a decision which led to the opening goal and subsequent VAR approval.
However, we remain the only club who SFA Head of Refereeing, Crawford Allan, felt it appropriate to pick-on for a decision by one of his officials he felt was wrong. Some context. In December 2021 Kyogo scored the only goal of a league game against Hearts. After a rocky start to the season, where the club had won only one from their opening seven games, Celtic collected 25 from 27 points up to that night.
They were on form and closing in on the top of the table, the whole country could sense it and an assistant referee did not raise his flag when Kyogo scored. Allan could contain himself no more and took to Radio Scotland to express his suspicion that Celtic were advantaged. He didn’t say it that way, of course, but by saying he thought the assistant was wrong, that was the implication.
His intervention was ill-judged. Referees get a hard enough time without their own boss taking to the airwaves to undermine them. This was true then and remains so now. That the SFA Head of Refereeing didn’t see anything wrong with his actions gave us an insight into how his mind reacted to that Celtic Park moment. Football takes hold of us all.
We need to hear again from Crawford. He either should explain his view on decisions favouring other clubs, which would be even-handed but an horrendous mistake, or he need to explain how inappropriate it is that he only spoke about Celtic.
When trying to raise standards in an organisation, it is practically impossible to achieve progress if your own missteps are brushed under the carpet. The SFA has been a hiding place for bowling club committee-types for decades. Our game just doesn’t have the competence to attract those with the ability to succeed in a more responsible environment.