A Dangerous Game

stewart_reganSo the SFA has dismissed the Josh Meekings case. He has been cleared of deliberate handball on the grounds that … well … that it wasn’t deliberate.

Some now want a line drawn under the whole affair. They’ve got to be joking. It is more important than ever that this be got to the bottom of.

Inverness will take the victory and move forward to the final. I would understand if they wanted nothing more to do with this, but I hope they are going to press for answers. Celtic certainly has to, because this reeks more than it ever did.

Whilst some in the media already want Celtic to sit down and shut up, accusing us of arrogance or spite, or simply trying to deflect from a bad result, others in the game are looking at what has happened in the aftermath of Sunday’s game, and they are concerned.

The SFA is now being watched by bigger people than those at Celtic Park.

Hell mend them if the potentially enormous consequences of the last week come to pass.

They deserve it for the way they’ve handled this.

You know, people have asked me, this week, what I reckon the real issue is here.

I’ve written a half dozen articles on it now, covering everything from the handball to the way Celtic’s reaction to it has been misrepresented by the media.

To me it’s simple. The incident itself has paled into insignificance in light of the near certainty that something much bigger happened on the pitch.

Right now the SFA is expecting us to believe that not one of their officials saw this incident on the day. According to the official record none of them did, and this is not just the three closest to it.

They had six observers at Hampden on Sunday and, if you believe what you’re hearing, they all missed it.

Credible? I think not.

So I’m moved to ask myself, as Celtic must be, as Inverness certainly were, why the SFA were determined to go to draconian, and probably illegitimate, lengths to prop up this obvious fiction?

What truth could be so unpalatable that you try to cover it up with such a transparent lie, a lie that can be shot down easily, just by studying some TV footage?

That’s what this issue is about now.

It’s not a conspiracy theory if it’s a conspiracy.

The SFA’s conduct in this case gives us absolutely no reason to believe that it’s not.

They need to explain, and in one big hurry, what it was Alan Muir communicated to the referee Steve McLean at the moment the ball bounced off Meekings hand.

And if that was related to what he saw, or even thought he did, someone inside Hampden is going to have to explain to Celtic, and especially to Inverness, why the official version of events is that nobody saw a thing … because that is the basis on which the SFA protected its officials and turned the heat on the player instead.

Perhaps that is too complicated for some people to grasp.

Perhaps it’s just too scary a concept for them to wrap their brains around; that the SFA should be covering somebody for something and lying to the clubs and to the rest of the game.

But it would not be the first time it has happened.

It’s now beyond any dispute that there are serious questions to answer here.

I will be amazed if the clubs allow this matter to drop.

All the smoke in the world will not cover this, and when the stink of it has reached FIFA then you know that it’s more than just another example of the SFA blundering into a bear trap.

They had absolutely no legitimate grounds on which to discipline Josh Meekings, even if you accept the official version of events.

Yet they tried to do it anyway. Why?

The media has been whipped up into a typical frenzy of finger pointing at Celtic when we’re not the guilty party, simply asking for clarification on a matter which needs it more than ever. Why?

What is really going on here? What are people afraid of finding out?

Their decision to discipline Meekings, was a clear violation of UEFA and FIFA statutes that had these governing bodies asking why in God’s name they were trying to.

That the SFA doesn’t care about these rules makes people at UEFA and FIFA wonder what else it allows.

We could give them an education on that subject, all right.

The more UEFA and FIFA looked, the more they, too, could see that this whole thing doesn’t stack up. I can fully understand why the SFA and others want this to just go away.

Craig Swan, in The Record, was even demanding that FIFA keep its nose out things.

What’s he worried about?

What exactly is his problem with FIFA telling the SFA that they can’t just make it up as they go along?

They do that a lot, as we’re all well aware.

Let me put it in terms so simple even John Brown would get it.

If the SFA has fabricated a disciplinary case against a player to protect officials from their own stupidity or even misconduct then we are in uncharted territory and there will be blood up every wall before this situation is finally put to bed.

It will be a scandal to make “Dougie Dougie” look like a matter of no consequence.

And I ask you; would you go to these lengths to cover up a simple refereeing mistake?

Of course you wouldn’t. Mistakes are made. They are accidents.

Creating a smokescreen is not accidental.

Tonight they have ruled that Meekings was not guilty because there was “no intent.”

Had they said that in the first place none of this outcry would have been necessary.

Yet that is not the line they have pursued. I cannot accentuate that enough. Their central claim is no-one saw anything despite television footage which makes an absolute nonsense of that argument.

See, in truth no-one wants to allege bias or match fixing here, because those allegations have a habit of inspiring only contempt in this country (they shouldn’t; they have happened in almost every major league in Europe before), but they are only a handful of possible explanations, and those are amongst them. What else are we supposed to infer?

For the third time since Sunday, the SFA has taken action that they hope will see this situation put aside.

They want it to go away. I have rarely seen more desperation from an organisation that wants an issue put to bed.

Yet very hard questions still remain.

Your move, Celtic.

We can keep allowing the Three Wise Monkeys to run our game or we can clear the gutters out once and for all.

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James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

7 thoughts on “A Dangerous Game

  • 23 April, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    My money is on Lawwell allowing them off the hook, despite the rumours of Celtic pushing for action on Resolution 12

  • 23 April, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Great piece James.
    I’m afraid this lot don’t give a damn about anything but Sevco,you even have a employee of the Daily Ranger telling FIFA to fuck off.
    Can’t see them doing anything about them.HH

  • 23 April, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Can,t see the suites at Parkhead chasing this up now,reason being (they don,t got no hutzpa ?)

  • 23 April, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    TV evidence clearly shows Meekings raising his hand to the ball. So he meant it even if it was just an instinctive reaction. How all six officials could have missed it is beyond belief. The SFA explanation is merely a cover-up. But, as a better man than me once wrote: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we flatter to deceive.” I await further developments.

  • 23 April, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    The Orange Lodge is running Scottish Football and Scottish T.V.
    If yolu don’t believe me . . .think again.

  • 23 April, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Scottish Cup sponsored by William Hill…….a very good result for them, will have sunk some big accumulators.

    Scottish referees sponsored by SpecSavers….oh the irony.

    Scottish football run by a masonic cabal from the very top to the match officials….McLean and Muir thought nothing of giving each other a brotherly handshake before the game, in full view of millions.
    When you see future referrals to fast tracking referees do not for a minute think it’s based on hard work and ability. No your career will come to a halt unless you are prepared to roll up your trouser leg and borrow your mum’s apron before sneaking in at the back door of the ludge……Busby apparently for McLean.

  • 24 April, 2015 at 3:43 am

    I believe that McLean saw the hand ball and so did Muir
    What did Muir say to McLean? Could be “penalty penalty penalty” What did McLean do? He alone decided ,no penalty /red card, this is my big game over and Celtic will win the treble.
    What else can you think when video evidence shows both had a clear view of the incident
    They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Who has more power in football than an SFA referee..He can do what he wants with impunity.Especially when the automatic reaction of his immediate superior is run out the usual excuse “honest mistake”
    When that doesn’t make it go away the SFA immediately charge Meekings and then because of flack they get from FIFA,, they withdraw the charge.
    One could develop a god complex and why wouldn’t you?.If you were an SFA Referee.
    Why are there no charges against the referees Fleming?
    Where is the answer to Celtic’s letter Ogilvie?

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