Boot in the stomach? A mere yellow card offence in Scottish football

I guess we now know that Ismaila Soro’s unfortunate prang in his car today was not down do a lack of experience driving on the left side of the road in wintry conditions and more down to to a momentary lapse in concentration when overcome with feelings of incredulity, as he became aware that being booted in the stomach is a mere cautionable offence in the World of Scottish football. Welcome to the Hoops son!

Referee Nick Walsh has clearly reviewed his original decision and rather than admit culpability for his error. when booking rather than sending off Motherwell’s Devante Cole at Celtic Park on Saturday. has instead doubled down and decided that both he and his assistant referee had full view of the incident and stand by their on-field punishment.

READ THIS…What does Motherwell’s Devante Cole have to do to merit a red card against Celtic?

Of course, you could say this decision beggar’s belief but in truth there is little shock or surprise in this outcome. It would appear preferable to Nick Walsh to take whatever cloaked in secrecy punishment comes his way from his bosses on the sixth floor at Hampden, rather than make any admittance of wrongdoing when it came to his on-field duties to protect the footballers under his watch on any given weekend.

It’s not really any wonder he’ll take his chances there, I mean John Beaton can drink in a loyal Bellshill watering hole a matter of hours after an error strewn Glasgow Derby and still he gets to officiate future meetings. Who needs transparency when it comes to football governance? Well, the truth is we all do.

Devante Cole has previous having assaulted Jeremie Frimpong in November when Celtic won 4-1 at Fir Park, again receiving a yellow card and Nick Walsh further decided Stephen Welsh receiving an elbow to the mouth on Saturday also only warranted a caution.

Celtic we know are already defending the two-game ban offered to Albian Ajeti for perceived simulation against Kilmarnock a week ago today, and that has been a welcome stance from the club as in recent times we’ve been somewhat reticent to challenge anything bar a short statement on the website without any subsequent follow up. That defence has now been confirmed as being successful – so Ajeti is free to play against St Mirren tomorrow night.  As for the three unnamed former referees who reckoned he was guilt of simulation? Incredible what you see through those blue-tinted specs.

It shows in certain instances, officials are indeed willing to revisit the validity of their original on-field decision, though given the Ref that particular night, Kevin Clancy, admitted at the start of the season that referees knew just what was at stake in the ten in a row season, perhaps that isn’t that much of a surprise.

There has been a gulf growing at Celtic between the support and the custodians of the club and one way for them to begin in some way to bridge that gap is to demand a level playing field from the SFA.

Celtic need to drive for transparency when it comes to decision making and how referees who fail in their duty of care and a basic level of proficiency at their job on a sustained basis are dealt with.

Transparency allied to consistency as to how players and clubs are treated in Scottish football is a must and if Celtic want to build bridges with the support the lobbying for SFA reform and accountability must begin. It is long overdue; our inaction has emboldened.

Today’s outcome today perhaps wasn’t responsible for Ismaila Soro’s loss of control behind the wheel but he’s sure as hell better protected in his choice of 4 x 4 than he is by Scottish referees. It’s time Celtic stood up to the car-crash that is Scottish football governance.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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