MICHAEL McGILL, the former Rangers Finance Director – of the Bank’s man on the Board – continued giving evidence today in the case of HMA v Craig Whyte. Under cross examination from Donald Findlay QC, McGill revealed the perilous state of finances at the Ibrox club in and around 2010.
An insolvency event was a real possibility. The club was close to breaking its banking covenants and survival, so it seems, depended on Champions League qualification.
Here is Findlay questioning McGill on this today, courtesy of James Doleman.
McGill “without European success the club could not be profitable
“I could give you a very good example”
Findlay “just answer my questions”
Findlay “The quality of the product was deteriorating”
McGill “That depended on Champions League qualification on a smaller budget”
Celtic play St Johnstone tomorrow as the quest for an invincible season continues. The League and League Cup have been won and we are in the Scottish Cup Final. We have a world class manager, an existing team playing entertaining football and hundreds of millions of talent on the park. Our supporters are in fine form, probably more creative than every before in creating new songs for our heroes and in our last match we thumped Sevco Rangers by 5-1.
So everything in the Celtic garden is particularly rosy in the Celtic garden at the moment, in stark contrast to events at Ibrox, where a pitch invader is exposed as a pervert, one new racist is exposed every day and they have a bloke from some Middle East league managing them and making a grand job of it too!
But back in 2009-10 the old Rangers were desperately close to the edge. McGill and other witnesses have revealed this under oath at the High Court.
At that time there were key decisions going against Celtic and for Rangers, conveniently so for the Ibrox club.
For evidence of these decisions a list has been compiled highlighting the Top 50 Honest Mistakes by the SFA officials since the start of Season 09/10 (August 2009).
We will feature these Honest Mistakes over 2 parts, with the first 25 in this article. The next 25 will be in part 2 tomorrow.
The 50 Honest Mistakes are categorised as follows:-
- 18 VERY STRONG PENALTY CLAIMS DENIED (for Celtic or for Rangers opponents).
- 9 GOALS INCORRECTLY CHOPPED OFF (for Celtic or for Rangers opponents),
- 6 SOFT PENALTIES (for Rangers where opposing team complains about decision.)
- 4 NO RED CARD (for Rangers player when proper rules being applied should have resulted in red.)
- 4 NOT EVEN A BOOKING (for Rangers players when there was a case for a red.)
- 3 FOR THE SAME OFFENCE – CELTIC PLAYER BOOKED. OPPONENT OR RANGERS PLAYER NOT BOOKED.
- 2 HARSH RED CARDS (for Celtic players.)
- 1 UNUSUAL DECISION (Celtic goalkeeper penalised for handling ball inside the box!)
- 1 LACK OF SHARPNESS/PACE OF ASSISTANT REFEREES (Keane offside again.)
- 2 WILL GIVE REF BENEFIT OF DOUBT BUT SEEN THEM GIVEN.
Within this list is:-
- quotations from 3 SPL managers (Levein, Gannon & May) making admission to the poor decisions going against Celtic.
- numerous quotes from 6 managers (Craig Brown, Gus McPherson, Peter Houston , Terry Butcher, Billy Reid & Jocky Scott) complaining publicly about decisions that have favoured Rangers.
- an apology from a referee admitting he made an error of judgement by not awarding Celtic a penalty against Rangers.
- quotes from ex ref Kenny Clark admitting Bougherra should have been red carded against Celtic and admitting ref was wrong to award Rangers a penalty against Celtic.
- a quote from ex Rangers captain, Richard Gough admitting a Celtic goal should have stood against Rangers.
- a quote from current Rangers player Kyle Lafferty admitting a red card was harsh for Celtic player in a clash with him.
- a quote from ex ref admitting “it was a penalty all day” which was then not awarded.
- a quote from Andy Goram admitting Rangers should not have been awarded a penalty against Celtic.
All of these quotes are within the a 15 month period since the start of that season 2009/10.
Note – Dougie McDonald features in 17 out of the 50 Honest Mistake decisions and this does NOT include the white lie.
THE TOP FIFTY ‘HONEST MISTAKES’ BETWEEN AUGUST 2009 – OCTOBER 2010 – which favoured Rangers or went against their rivals for the Champions League spot, Celtic.
1. CLEAR SECOND GOAL FOR MOTHERWELL CHOPPED OFF AGAINST RANGERS
No need for various views of this one. No marginal decision or checking replays. Forbes was 3 yards onside. Former Rangers captains summarising on ESPN Butcher & Hendry agree goal was clearly onside. Daily Record “Craig Brown last night accused bungling linesman of costing Motherwell a famous victory over Rangers. The furious Fir Park boss had to be dragged away from John Gilmore at full-time as he protested the controversial decision to disallow a second-half Ross Forbes goal for offside. Forbes poked home Stephen Craigan’s knockdown to seemingly put his side 2-0 up and on the brink of a first home win over Gers for seven years. But Gilmour flagged despite TV pictures later clearly showing the goal should have stood. Well boss Brown was in no doubt his side had been robbed and said: “I’ve seen the TV evidence and it indicates the goal was OK.” GOAL CHOPPED OFF.
10 February 2010 – SPL game. Rangers would have been 2-0 down but drew 1-1.
2. REFEREE APOLOGISES FOR NOT AWARDING CELTIC A BLATANT PENALTY AT IBROX
Davie Weir chops Maloney down in box in first Old Firm game of season. Referee waves play on and Rangers go up the park and score. STV website and various media – “Old Firm referee Craig Thomson has admitted he’s ‘disappointed’ at getting his decision wrong when he decided not to award Celtic a penalty in the 12th minute. Hugh Dallas said: ‘Craig and I have had our post match de-brief. Whilst I would compliment Craig for his overall handling of yesterday’s encounter, he is disappointed at his error of judgement when he decided against awarding a penalty to the visiting team in the 12th minute.'” Motherwell manager Jim Gannon later said: “Right now there is a question mark over the standard of our refereeing, and it affects the SPL table. After the last Old Firm game Hugh Dallas had to defend the referee [Craig Thomson]. But the result of that match might have been different had the ref got the big decisions correct.” STONEWALL PEN DENIED.
4 October 2009 – SPL game. Celtic lost game 2-1 and were 1-0 down at time of incident.
3. BROADFOOT DIVES AND IS AWARDED A PENALTY
Eurosport: “There was the inevitable Glasgow derby controversy though as referee Willie Collum was conned into awarding a penalty when substitute Kirk Broadfoot dived into Daniel Majstorovic, with Miller converting to make it 3-1 with 24 minutes remaining.”
Daily Express: “Lennon fizzing when Collum gave Rangers a penalty – despite having his back to the incident when Kirk Broadfoot dived inside the box. When asked if he thought Collum had even seen the penalty claim. Lennon was adamant “No,” he added. “If you look at him, I don’t think he saw I it.”
The Telegraph: “Collum awarded a penalty kick to Rangers without appearing to see it properly. Had he had a clear view he would surely have been more likely to book Kirk Broadfoot – who had replaced Papac at the restart – with simulation at a challenge from Majstorovic.
BBC website: Former referee Kenny Clark says Willie Collum was wrong to award a penalty to Rangers in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Celtic.
The Sun: Former Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram says Willie Collum got it wrong when awarding a penalty against Celtic. In former Celtic striker John Harrison’s column…Willie Collum’s decision to award Rangers a penalty last week has forced Hartson into a rethink after years of dismissing the notion. “Now I fear that there is a conspiracy against my old club,” he admitted. “How else can anyone explain Willie Collum’s penalty decision in the Old Firm match? “What rankles with me is that Collum just didn’t see the incident. His back was turned and he had absolutely no idea what was going on in the box. “If he had a clear view of the flashpoint and pointed to the spot that would have been a different matter. Celtic fans might not have liked the decision but we could all have put it down to human error. After all it’s not the first time that Celts have been on the wrong end of an honest blunder in an Old Firm derby.
SOFT PENALTY AWARDED. 22 October 2010 – SPL game. Celtic lost game 3-1 and were 2-1 down at time of incident.
4. PERFECTLY GOOD MARC ANTOINE FORTUNE GOAL CHOPPED OFF AGAINST RANGERS
Sky Sports Moment of the Match: “Marc-Antoine Fortune’s wrongly disallowed goal could have changed the game and the title race.” News of the World Richard Gough reflecting on the disallowed goal““Look at the last game, the one where Celtic have had the Fortune goal disallowed. “I admit that it does look like a goal. The referee (Steve Conroy) has not ruled the goal disallowed because he’s a Protestant or a Catholic. “He’s made an honest call and guys make mistakes.” GOAL CHOPPED OFF. 3 January 2010 – SPL game. Celtic 1 Rangers 1.
5. GOAL FOR CELTIC INCORRECTLY CHOPPED OFF FOR OFFSIDE
Celtic were 3-0 up against St Johnstone and had a goal wrongly chopped off for offside.
Scottish Herald: “They had a Joe Ledley goal wrongly disallowed which would have made it 4-0”
Daily Record: “They were set to press cruise control when Joe Ledley rounded Graeme Smith to score a fourth after half an hour but he was wrongly flagged for offside.” The Celts boss said: “The referee had a very good game, actually. However, the incident involving Joe Ledley looked onside, a perfectly good goal from a good ball and a good run. The official got it wrong but let’s leave it at that, eh?”
The Scotsman: “The midfielder was flagged offside by assistant referee Willie Conquer as he broke through the St Johnstone defence, but his run had been well timed.”
The game changed as 30 seconds after Celtic’s goal was disallowed St Johnstone pulled one back to 3-1. GOAL CHOPPED OFF. 27 October 2010 League Cup 3-2 Celtic.
6. PERFECTLY GOOD HAMILTON EQUALISER CHOPPED OFF WITH TEN MINUTES REMAINING
Sunday Mail: “ANGRY Accies boss Billy Reid last night blasted the officials for denying his side a deserved draw at Ibrox. Hamilton were trailing to Mo Edu’s first-half opener when James McArthur knocked home Alex Neil’s cross 12 minutes from time. But linesman Steven Craven flagged for offside against sub Joel Thomas – even though McArthur was well onside. And ref Stevie O’Reilly chalked the goal off to hand Rangers a 1-0 victory. Raging Reid said: “I don’t think anyone could deny we deserved a point. “I haven’t seen McArthur’s goal on the monitor but I don’t need to.”I knew Joel was offside when the cross came in but James wasn’t. He came from deep, timed his run well and I’m told he was three yards onside.”I was celebrating the goal so I’m disappointed it wasn’t given. I had a word with the ref but he had a hard decision.”Some they get right, some they get wrong. He called this one wrong. GOAL CHOPPED OFF. 3 April 2010 Rangers won 1-0.
7. DUNDEE UNITED PLAYER ADMITS HE HANDLED BALL IN INJURY TIME – NO PENALT
It’s 1-1 in injury time in a game that Celtic also had a valid goal disallowed, Darren Dods arm moves in direction of the ball inside box and Steve Conroy waves play on. Darren Dods later admits he handled it and Levein said he was disappointed Dods did not catch it.
Scotland on Sunday: “Much later, a couple of minutes into injury time in fact, an Andreas Hinkel cross hit Darren Dodds on the arm and many a spot-kick has been given in such circumstances. Asked about it later, Levein offered a cheeky response: “I’ve spoken to Darren about it and he said he was really disappointed he never held it. Dodds said: “The ball hit my head and then hit my thumb.” That’s that, then. It should have been a penalty.” STONEWALL PEN DENIED. 13 September 2009 SPL game 1-1 draw.
8. RANGERS HEADING OUT OF CUP 3-2 DOWN AND AWARDED A VERY SOFT PENALTY
The Times: “ Rangers also got lucky to a degree — the penalty awarded to them after 61 minutes, when Stuart Elliott was judged to have stopped the ball illegally while lying on the ground, looked harsh.”
Scotsman: “They needed a touch of good fortune to equalise when referee Charlie Richmond rather harshly penalised Hamilton debutant Stuart Elliott for handball, awarding the spot-kick from which Kenny Miller converted.” SOFT PEN AWARDED. 10 January 2010 Scottish Cup 3-3 draw.
9. RANGERS AWARDED LUDICROUS SECOND PENALTY AFTER DIVE
Losing 1-0 in a Scottish Cup quarter final Rangers were awarded 2 very soft penalties. Peter Houston was livid at both awards but especially the second.
BBC website: “I am disappointed and I just wonder if the penalties would have been given at the other end. I hope they would have been,” said the Dundee United manager.” Dougie McDonald is an honest referee in normal circumstances, I think he is one of the best in Scotland. But I was disappointed that he got there early to give the penalty kicks.” And the United manager added: “The second one, if we are going to give penalty kicks for that, we’ll get penalty kicks left, right and centre on a regular basis.” SOFT PENALTY AWARDED. 14 March 2010 Scottish Cup 3-3 draw.
10. LAST MINUTE PENALTY AWARDED TO RANGERS. OFFENCE TOOK PLACE OUTSIDE THE BOX
Drawing 1-1 with Hearts Craig Thomson awards Rangers last minute penalty. The offence took at least a yard outside the box.
Daily Mail: “The Tynecastle side thought the penalty was harsh, arguing that the foul by Ismael Bouzid on Steven Naismith was committed outside the penalty box.
Telegraph: “…and the referee – poured salt into Hearts’ wounds in the final minute of normal time when Mr Thomson judged that Ismael Bouzid had fouled Steven Naismith inside the box, a dubious judgment call at best.” SOFT PEN AWARDED. 24 August 2009 SPL game Rangers won 2-1 as a result of the late penalty award.
11. CELTIC SCORE INJURY TIME WINNER AGAINST FALKIRK BUT WRONGLY DISALLOWED
Daily Record: “Celtic fans yelped in frustration – and their mood would not have improved when television replays showed assistant Lawrence Kerrigan was wrong to flag for offside when Samaras was played in behind the Bairns defence in injury time. His shot may have been blocked by Olejnik but it dropped to McDonald who poked the ball into the net only to see the flag fluttering along his line of vision. To be fair, Celtic players kept their protests to a minimum.” GOAL CHOPPED OFF. 8 November 2009 SPL 3-3 draw.
12. KYLE LAFFERTY ASSAULTS HINKEL WITH HORRENDOUS TACKLE, NO RED CARD
Tony Mowbray is seen squirming with his hand in hands after seeing the tackle which could have been career threatening. 99.99 times out of 100 this tackle is an automatic red.
Daily Mail: “Then came the Lafferty-Hinkel incident, arriving after the Rangers player had earlier been lucky to escape a booking for three fouls. This time, Lafferty slid in, studs up, in a shocking challenge that fully impacted on Hinkel’s shin, one which had the Celtic fans howling for a red card. And Conroy should have administered it.”
Two months later in The Herald: The tackle is not in my head any more,” said Hinkel yesterday. “It’s still on my shin, though. I still have the mark there.” NO RED CARD. 2 January 2010 SPL game 1-1 draw.
13. SAMARAS HEADER v DUNDEE UNITED WRONGLY DISALLOWED FOR OFFSIDE
Celtic had a Samaras goal incorrectly chopped off for offside.
Scotland on Sunday: “Levein left the field quietly at the end and there was probably a reason for that. His side appeared to come out the right side of two highly contentious calls in the second half; a Georgios Samaras “goal” chalked off by linesman and a Celtic penalty claim waved away by referee Steve Conroy. The “goal” was put away by Samaras just before the hour mark.”
Daily Record: “ The Greek said: “I went square on the defender and knew exactly where he was. I also know the move I made to keep me onside.”
TV replays backed his claim. GOAL CHOPPED OFF. 13 September 2009 SPL game 1-1 draw.
14. DUNDEE UNITED SCORE AGAINST RANGERS WITH 3 MINUTES TO GO BUT WRONGLY DISALLOWED
BBC Website: “United were dominant for most of the game and David Goodwillie had the ball in the net, only to be flagged offside. TV showed Goodwillie was onside.” GOAL CHOPPED OFF. 24 March 2010 Scottish Cup Dundee United won 1-0 thnaks to an injury time winner.
15. EDDIE MAY ADMITS CELTIC SHOULD HAVE HAD A PENALTY IN 1-1 DRAW
Mail on Sunday: ‘Falkirk manager Eddie May said: “Overall, I thought it was a fair result. But I think they should have had a penalty.”
Daily Mail: ‘Alan Muir denied the Parkhead club a late penalty claim – when Brian McLean tangled with Fortune – in the 1-1 draw with Falkirk on Saturday. STONEWALL PEN DENIED. 16 January 2010 SPL game 1-1 draw.
16. ARTUR BORUC PENALISED FOR HANDLING BALL 2 YARDS INSIDE HIS BOX
This has to be the most ludicrous free kick given all season 20 yards from goal. The Celtic keeper was throwing the ball to then kick it out his area. Whenever have you seen such a free kick given this season or any season? TV evidence clearly showed Boruc was 2 yards inside his box when he last handled the ball. The free kick was given by linesman Francis Andrews with a few minutes remaining and the game tied at 1-1 and Celtic were pushing for a winner.
Daily Mail: “Hinkel was also unhappy about Celtic keeper Artur Boruc being penalised for apparently stepping out of his area late on. “It’s not really my thing to say something about referees but, once again, we had some very strange decisions,” said Hinkel. “Not even just the penalty – look at the situation when Artur had a free-kick given against him.” Falkirk very nearly scored a winner from the free kick and if they had this ridiculous decision would have been highlighted much more than it was. UNUSUAL DECISION! 16 January 2010 SPL game 1-1 draw.
17. JOCKY SCOTT – “THE SECOND PENALTY CLAIM? A BLIND MAN COULD HAVE SEEN IT!’
Dundee were drawing 1-1 with Rangers in League Cup quarter final when they were denied not one but TWO stonewall penalties according to Dundee manager Jocky Scott. “We had two stonewall penalties, how the referee Dougie McDonald didn’t give them I don’t know ? “The second one – a blind man could have seen it!” STONEWALL PEN DENIED. 27 October 2009 League Cup 3-1 Rangers.
18. McCULLOCH LOOKS AT McGUIRE THEN ELBOWS HIM IN FACE – NO RED CARD
Lee McCulloch glances at Aberdeen’s McGuire then elbows him deliberately directly in face. Best to view the video to illustrate how deliberate this was.
Daily Record: “Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch, however, was fortunate not to pick up a red card from Iain Brines for an elbow on McGuire.”
Rangers would have been playing 45 mins with 10 men if Brines had done his job. Next match for Rangers was against Celtic. McCulloch escapes ban which could have been a 3 match ban for violent conduct. NO RED CARD. 26 September 2009 0-0 draw.
19. MALONEY BROUGHT DOWN BY WEIR IN BOX, NO PENALTY, MALONEY BOOKED
TV showed penalty should have been given.
Daily Mail: “Maloney, in particular, seemed harshly dealt with after being chopped down by David Weir with the score at 1-0 and was accused of simulating another tumble in the box following a challenge from his Scotland team-mate. TV pictures later suggested Craig Thomson got both calls wrong” STONEWALL PEN DENIED. 4 October 2009 – SPL game. Celtic lost game 2-1.
20. McGEADY SENT OFF FOR DIVING 45 YARDS FROM GOAL
Dougie McDonald sends off McGeady for diving 45 yards from goal after riding a few tackles after going on a run. After the match Mowbray said “If we hadn’t had the week we’ve had in the media, I would suggest the referee would never have made it a sending off.” In March 2010 Evening Times refelected on that incident- “Dougie McDonald sent off McGeady at Hibernian this season for diving. McGeady and Mowbray were both outraged at the decision.The alleged offence happened on the halfway line where “simulation” to gain an advantage was perhaps not the likeliest option for McGeady to take. Many believed he was merely trying to avoid being injured as a tackle was coming in. HARSH RED CARD. 30 August 2009 SPL game 1-0 Celtic, player suspended.
21. DUNDEE UNITED DENIED STONEWALL PENALTY AS KYLE LAFFERTY HANDLES BALL
TV showed Lafferty’s hand moving towards the ball to block effort at goal but Dougie McDonald denies United the penalty.
BBC website: “Kyle Lafferty handled in the Rangers box in the first-half but escaped the award of a penalty against his side. However, despite strenuous penalty appeals from the United players, referee Dougie McDonald awarded a corner to the home side and booked Garry Kenneth for dissent towards the assistant referee. STONEWALL PEN DENIED. 24 March 2010 Scottish Cup Dundee United won 1-0 thanks to an injury time winner.
22. BROWN HARSHLY SENT OFF AFTER CLASHING WITH LAFFERTY WHO ESCAPES SEEING RED
Scott Brown controversially sent off after altercation with Lafferty who did not receive a card.
The Scotsman: Striker Kyle Lafferty has admitted Scott Brown was unlucky to be sent off by referee Dougie McDonald in Sunday’s Old Firm derby. Celtic have appealed against the red card dished out to their captain after a clash with Lafferty. Rangers went on to seal victory thanks an injury-time goal from Maurice Edu and went ten points clear of their rivals.Northern Ireland international Lafferty, now preparing to face Albania in a friendly tonight, said: “To produce a red card was harsh but it is the referee’s decision and is nothing to do with me!”HARSH RED CARD. 28 February 2010 SPL game 1-0 Rangers 92nd minute winner against 10 man Celtic.
23. BOYD ELBOWS ZEMMAMA – WHEN AN ELBOW IN THE FACE IS CLASSED AS OBSTRUCTION
Any other classification for the booking would have meant Boyd suspended for Old Firm game. If it was an obstruction why was there no hand up by referee Steve Conroy?
The Herald: “Merouane Zemmama last night claimed Kris Boyd “went for his face” with his elbow and would have been sent off in other countries. The Rangers striker was booked after his arm caught Zemmama. Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, said he believed the caution had pushed his striker though the 18-point disciplinary mark, thus meaning Boyd would be unable to play against Celtic in two weeks. However, Steve Conroy, the match referee, later confirmed that the booking would only amount to two points for obstruction, leaving Boyd one point shy of suspension” NO RED CARD. 14 February 2010 SPL game Rangers won 3-0 after 3 second half goals. Incident with Boyd took place in 1st half.
24. BOUGHERRA BOOKED AFTER 5 MINUTES THEN HAS 7 FOULS AND STAYS ON PARK
Dougie McDonald booked Bougherra booked early on but failed to send him off despite 7 subsequent fouls on Celtic’s forwards, Bougheera stayed on park and set up Rangers winning goal in injury time.
BBC Website: “Former referee Kenny Clark said: “I’ve got to say that I did note a couple of times about Bougherra living dangerously, and I think he was on his very last life, as it were. He was treading a very thin line. On another day he might well have been red-carded, but he got away with it. I think he was very fortunate to remain where he was.” NO RED CARD. 28 February 2010 SPL game 1-0 Rangers 92nd minute winner.
25. McGINN CHOPPED IN BOX WITH 5 MINUTES TO GO, REFEREE McDONALD SAYS NO PENALTY
Daily Record: “The Northern Irish international was brought down inside the box by Lee Wallace with five minutes to go of Sunday’s SPL clash at Parkhead, only for referee Dougie McDonald to award a corner to the bemusement of everyone inside the stadium.” STONEWALL PEN DENIED. 21 September 2009 Celtic won 2-1 thanks to an injury time winner.
PART 2 TOMORROW.