Scottish media dives in as soon as a Celtic player is guilty of simulation

Former referee and host of the ‘Get Involved Referee’ podcast Des Roache has been banging the drum for sendings off to become the automatic punishment for those guilty of simulation for many months on his weekly assessment of referee’s performances in Scottish Football.

Roache is getting plenty of publicity this week, despite his thoughts on the matter going unaired across the mainstream media for some time. And much of that could to put down to the fact Celtic’s Liel Abada’s attempts to win a penalty in Sunday’s League Cup Final occurred in a high-profile encounter.

Or, perhaps you could read into it that a Celtic player attempting to gain an advantage against theRangers means Roache’s views are suddenly in-vogue when his previous call for red cards for simulation have rarely featured beyond his own media output. Funny that!

IMAGO / Pro Sports Images . Photo Colin Poultney PSI

Roache gave his views this week on Abada’s simulation and reiterated the calls he has made for several months on his podcast for stricter punishments going forward.

“It’s a bug-bear of mine and I will be consistent. He should be given a retrospective red card for cheating. He knew what he was doing and you could see how sheepish he looked when Nick Walsh brought out the yellow card, which is the current tarriff for this offence.

“I really hate simulation and I think the only way you are going to get ride of blatant cheating is to make it a red card offence.”

I remember having a conversation with a Barcelona fan whilst on holiday in Northern Spain a few years back. We were watching a European Under 21 tournament when the subject of simulation came up. His opinion was it was all a fair attempt to gain an advantage, whilst personally I initially disagreed.

This fella made the point that in British football the severity of tackles that went unpunished tarnished the beautiful game far more than any attempt to hoodwink a ref into awarding a free-kick or a penalty. To be fair he also had a point.

I have no issue with Des Roache’s opinions on simulation, indeed with VAR now in place it would be easy enough to ensure if red cards were handed out for diving, that any dubiety surrounding the decision could be removed, and thus it may well become an effective deterrent.

Liel Abada – Liel Abada of Celtic during the Viaplay League Cup Final between theRangers and Celtic at Hampden on February 26, 2023 (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

I don’t even really have any issue with Liel Abada being highlighted as an example whilst the likes of Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent seem to attempt to con their way to gaining a competitive advantage without such public outcries for more stringent punishment for offenders. After all it has always been this way in Scotland. Aye aye, I know I’m paranoid I get it!

What I do have an issue with is former referees highlighting this issue, whilst the fact a basic lack of protection afforded to players in Scotland is not mirrored down south or in other European leagues or highlighted in the same way as simulation.

As such before we get to issuing red cards for simulation, perhaps some of the SFA’s top flight referees might wish to look at using the tools they actually have at their disposal currently, and ensure the players under their care are offered the basic protections the laws of the game already afford them.

Liel Abada – Liel Abada of Celtic during the Viaplay League Cup Final between theRangers and Celtic at Hampden on February 26, 2023 (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

For too long Scottish football has remained in the dark ages when it comes to dangerous tackles. Celtic have seen incidents involving David Turnbull at Dundee United and Yosuke Ideguchi at Alloa, receive a light touch from referees only to be upgraded at review. There have been many more instances across (almost) all other clubs in Scotland.

It appears within the refereeing fraternity that Scotland is viewed as a place where football will not soften its stance on dangerous tackles that impact on a players’ career. Whilst they certainly do, as Yosuke Ideguchi could attest to considering his own Celtic career never recovered from that horrific challenge in the Scottish Cup at Alloa last season.

So, before we get het up and excited about highlighting Liel Abada’s simulation from Sunday, and ask for retrospective red cards to be issued, can we focus on the one area of Scotland’s officiating where the referees do have control, and at least try to catch up with the rest of the world who have adapted to a multitude of changes to the interpretation of the laws of the game to protect footballer’s and encourage entertainment.

The referee’s approach in Scotland needs to catch up with the progress other countries have made, and I’d suggest affording players protection from career threatening tackles should perhaps have as much – if not more – attention offered to it, than a player seeking to gain an advantage by way of simulation.

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.

1 Comment

  1. Abada a stupid bhoy.
    Deserved the card and just watch the refs ignoring fouls on him for the rest of the season.
    Defenders clapping their hands.
    Hail Hail..