SFA Rule Book Crisis: ‘You never know who the referees are or what their allegiances might be,’ Celtic goalie

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CRAIG GORDON got involved with the Scottish FA’s Rangers Rule Book Crisis today after a series of baffling decisions this season including:

AT PITTODRIE – A player was sent off for clearly kicking an opponent. TV evidence proved it was a kick but the red card was over-turned on appeal. KICK DESCRIPTION – Sleekit, 3/10.

The manager of the team reduced to 10 men hit out at Scottish referees claiming that decisions like this had been going against his new club for years. Someone must have told him as this was his first league match in charge. His out-burst was ignored by the Compliance Officer who later pulled up Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke for much of the same.

AT TYNECASTLE – a player was stamped on while flat out injured, the player who kicked out later admitted that ‘the red mist’ came down on him but the Scottish FA looked at the incident and in view of the above decided to take no further action. KICK DESCRIPTION – Petulant, 5/10.

AT CELTIC PARK A goal came from a 50/50 challenge at the other end of the pitch. The referee could have given a foul to either side or just decide to play on which is what happened, and this led to a goal. The player who missed out on a free kick going his way demanded that the referee be liquidated demoted. His manager claimed that the Fourth Official was acting entirely inappropriately on the sidelines. Meanwhile another player in the same game got an opponent booked through a clear dive and maliciously stamped on another opposing player’s ankle. However the main talking point was his goalkeeper lashing out and delivering a vicious kick in the middle area of an opponent who was lying on the ground. His own manager reckoned it was a red card. It should have been a penalty. The Scottish FA looked at it and promoted the player, currently serving a lifetime ban from the national side, to Scotland’s number 1 goalie.
KICK DESCRIPTION – Common assault, 3 months jail sentence, 9/10.

So what did the Celtic goalkeeper, now effectively a bench warmer for the National side along with several other of his team-mates, have to say about how the Scottish FA are dealing with all of this, after news emerged this morning that they were having to go back to FIFA for guidance on the rules of the game? We wrote about this earlier today HERE.

“I think if players are in two minds or they don’t know then they shouldn’t be doing either, to be honest,” the Celtic goalie said.

“You’re going to put yourself in a difficult position and make referees have to make a decision, or a Compliance Officer or however they go about trying to adjudicate these things at the moment. It seems quite a clouded subject in how they get to the decisions. As far as I’m aware it goes to three referees and there’s no comeback. You don’t know who they are.

“It’s a strange system, you never know who the referees are or what their allegiances might be. I just think that’s probably not the best way to go about it.

“I’m not saying I’ve got the answers but certainly if you’ve got the incidents that things are happening on the pitch, if the referee misses them then there has to be that system in place that there is retrospective action and they should be getting that right.”

The logic in asking three people independently to agree before proceeding seems flawed in the extreme. If I said Jinky is the greatest ever Celtic player, do you agree? The first person I ask could agree, and the next supporter but the third says ‘No best for me is Larsson/ McGrory, McNeill or whoever. So we would have no agreement. That’s the process that got McGregor off scot-free.

I remember being at a dinner at the Hillhead Cricket Club a few years ago and a former referee was the guest speaker. To say he was pro-Rangers was an understatement and he is the very chap that is rumoured to be one of the three who decided Mcgregor’s kick did not merit a straight red card. He may have been the guy who said yellow only or maybe not and it was one of the other former referees.

“We don’t know who the panel is so it’s hard to know either way,” Gordon continued. “It makes it look like there’s that possibility and it shouldn’t be that way.

“We just need to know exactly what’s happening, what is violent conduct and what’s not. Then everybody abides by those laws and we get on with it.

“It’s happened now, that’s the decision and we move on. He’s free to play in the next match but for Rangers they’ve got more than two great goalkeepers so whoever plays in the first team they’ll have a great goalie.

“So I don’t think it makes a difference to points or to the league it’s just about getting decisions right.”

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