Robbie Neilson Makes Ridiculous Red Card Claim As He Blames Referee After Celtic Defeat

Robbie Neilson has never lost a game against Celtic without it being the fault of a referee or VAR; even when his side got away with some scandalous decisions in their 4-3 defeat to Ange Postecoglou’s men at Tynecastle earlier this season.

Tonight there were a number of bizarre calls made by the officials. Hearts took the lead through a goal which was flagged offside, only for VAR to overturn the decision. Replays suggest that the on field official may have actually been correct in the first place!

Celtic equalised through a wonderful bit of play between Ralston, Kyogo and Maeda. The linesman raised his flag for offside, despite each phase of play taking place with Celtic players several yards behind the defenders. VAR correctly awarded the goal.

Around this time, Celtic were denied a penalty. It would have been harsh but the ball struck the Hearts player’s hand as he turned in the box. Those types of calls have been given on many occasions this season, including against Celtic with Taylor, O’Riley and Bernbaei all being victims as recent examples. Neither the referee nor VAR gave a penalty.

It was by no means a shocker, but it was a major call which went Neilson’s way.

Considering the above, it is quite bizarre that the Hearts boss launched into a full time tirade about VAR. Indeed, Neilson complained that Celtic were not reduced to ten men for Bernabei’s tackle in the first half. It was a poor challenge, but it lacked any force to be deemed dangerous/serious foul play. Thus, a yellow card would have been sufficient and should have been awarded, but VAR were absolutely correct in deeming the challenge not worthy of meriting a sending off.

That didn’t stop Neilson making ridiculous remarks about requiring decapitation for Celtic players to be sent off at Parkhead.

He would have been correct to moan about the lack of a booking. However, that whinge would have to be tempered by the fact that Devlin wasn’t booked for a cynical foul on Bernabei and Maeda either.

Ultimately, Hearts had two contentious decisions go their way and one decision correctly went against them in terms of Bernabei remaining on the field. Even if the latter incident was wrong in Neilson’s opinion, it doesn’t cancel out the nature of the goal they were awarded or the penalty escape.

Celtic were the better team and deservedly won. Although, Hearts made Ange’s team work for the points.

(Video footage of the handball and Bernbei incidents will be added when available)

Matthew Marr’s debut Celtic book – The Bould Bhoys! Glory to their name – is out on 24 March on Celtic Star Books

Pushing the launch of Matthew Marr’s debut Celtic book – ‘The BOULD BHOYS – Glory to their name’ back a week to Friday 24 March. Thanks to everyone who has ordered since we announced the book last night via an interview with the author. Please note that all pre-ordered books will be personally signed by Matthew Marr and you can order below if you’d like a signed copy posted out to you 24 March.

READ THIS...‘The Bould Bhoys – Glory to their name’ by Matthew Marr

About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up on the English south coast with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic during the Martin O'Neill era. I have written four Celtic books since the age of 19: Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support, Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys: Celtic's Founding Fathers, First Season & Early Stars, and The Holy Grounds of Glasgow Celtic: A Guide To Celtic Landmarks & Sites Of Interest. These were previously sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores, and are now available on Amazon.


  1. Sean McGinley on

    The man has lost the plot. Sounds more like Denis. I never hear these outbursts when he plays their big brothers…strange, cos they always lose to them by a long way.

  2. What did anyone expect from Neilson? For all the drubbings he has had at the hands of the champions, not once has he admitted his side, and his negative tactics were inferior. Why would he when he can mask his incompetence by claiming the ref beat them!
    I do however agree the Celtic left back should have been given a yellow card for what was a careless tackle, not a malicious one. I think had the Hearts defender not hit the deck in such dramatic fashion and as a time delayed reaction, the yellow card would have been out.
    Ironically though, Neilson doesn’t mention the fact that VAR was their friend when despite the video proving the Hearts player was offside , VAR mysteriously ignored this and gave them the goal anyway!
    Unsurprisingly there was also a distinct disregard for his player having an identical tackle ignored on the Celtic left back a few minutes earlier.
    His inability to recognize hir own shortcomings means Neilson is clearly NOT the man to take Hearts forward.