Appalling Display By Officials Thwarts Celtic Treble Ambitons

A-League Rd 13 - Sydney v Central CoastAnybody who argues that officials don’t change games, and their mistakes don’t change destinies and have enormous impacts, wasn’t watching that game today.

At the end of the first half, we witnessed one of the worst decisions any of us is ever going to see. To say it was a shocker is an understatement.

To say that the officials were scandalous is to give them more credit than they are due.

At least two of them, perhaps three, had a clear line of sight to an obvious handball.

It was deliberate, it was a crucial factor in preventing a clear goal scoring chance and it should not only have been a penalty but a straight red card.

There are simply no excuses on offer here.

It was a diabolical moment in a game which flipped on its head.

The next major decision, to send of Craig Gordon and award Inverness a penalty, was unarguable. But had Celtic gone in at half time with a two goal advantage, far less against ten men, it would never have come about.

The whole second half would have had a different complexion … and with it, perhaps, the history books.

So much that is wrong with the Scottish game can be expressed clearly in that moment.

Some will scream Operation: Stop The Treble.

Others will simply point to a level of incompetence that would have people fired from another job.

It matters whether it’s one or the other, it matters a great deal, but what is not in dispute is that these “honest mistakes” cost clubs vast sums of money and change the trajectory of careers, and if the price for managerial failure – which so often turns on moments like these – is high, which it is, then our officials should not be immune from the consequences of these ghastly bad calls.

The officials who “missed” this decision – which happened right in front of their open eyes – ought to be doing something else on a Saturday. Because if they can miss something like that then what exactly is the point to having them near the pitch?

Not only the referee, and not just the linesman, but the extra official behind the goal – who arguably had the best line of sight of all – failed to spot a clear, and obvious, infringement and act accordingly.

That is simply unbelievable, and unacceptable.

It materially influenced the outcome of the match.

It impacts on the remainder of Celtic’s season and it has knock on effects beyond it.

Midway through the first half of extra time, Celtic’ treble ambitions were in shreds. John Guidetti then scored his free kick and that gave the team a zip they hadn’t had for much of the game but to ask any team to play this long with ten men was unrealistic.

It was always more likely than not that this would end in disaster, and it did.

I thought we should have won the match regardless, ten men or not, but it doesn’t matter now.

I didn’t have to play out on that pitch, covering much more ground than usual.

I didn’t have to labour under the enormous psychological pressure those players were under, pressure the officials did nothing at all to lessen and everything to enhance. An early booking for Scott Brown had the captain walking a tightrope, and that could have been avoided had the referee been at all level headed, which on the day he failed to be.

The treble dream is over for another season.

It is the toughest thing in football to accomplish, and days like today are a clear demonstration as to why. The slightest mistake – from a player or from a referee – is amplified 100 times.

I feel pretty gutted – of course – but more than that I feel angry.

To simply not rise to the occasion, to lose it because you just didn’t show up is one thing … to have a monumental and disgraceful decision so clearly impact the course of the game is simply unacceptable.

The team has come a long way though.

To ask them to go that extra mile, with ten men on the pitch for the whole second half plus extra time, has proved too much to ask.

Despite that, we can’t overlook that there are deficiencies in this team, most notably up front where we definitely lack a big, target man who can hold the ball up on a day like today, when we’re forced into playing with one up front.

But I’ve been singing that song now for near on three years. If our scouting system can’t find maybe it’s time to rip it up and start again. How much clearer can it be, for God’s sake?

That needs to be addressed. A tight title race and a reversal like today removes the alibis a treble would have given the board of directors.

They did what they had to do in the January transfer window, signing two players who will make an impact on the team for years to come, but there will be no excuses if they do not give the manager and the fans the players they deserve in the summer.

Congratulations to John Hughes and his team today.

I hope Falkirk trounce them in the final, but I like big Yogi and he deserves credit for what he’s accomplished.

But today belongs to the men in black. Theirs is the contribution to this season that will live longest in memory and infamy.

How much longer do we have to put up with such a staggering degree of ineptitude … or bias?

It matters which one, but not right now.

For now I have some drinking to do.

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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.

31 thoughts on “Appalling Display By Officials Thwarts Celtic Treble Ambitons

  • 19 April, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I “USED” to like big Yogi, but for an opposition manager to send his players out to take it in turns to “rough up” (foul in any other language) our two centre halves without censure from the latest incompetent in black deserves feck all but contempt.
    I hope Falkirk bury them

  • 19 April, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    They need to get a referral system like Tennis and cricket to get rid of these disgraceful decisions. Three appeals a half maybe, get a good appeal and you keep it, bad appeal and you lose one of your three.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Agree 100%get out of this corrupt biased League .Scandalous

  • 19 April, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    The worst cheating I have ever seen from 6 clowns !!!
    Sectarian cheating is alive and well in Scottish football.
    4th official stevie McLeans brother played for the current buns.
    We have been cheated since 1888 and it is not ever going to change.
    Dignity shown by Ronnie after the game was top class.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    In sixty years of following the Celtic I have never witnessed such blatant cheating as I saw today.

    Anyway good luck to big Yogi in the final.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Let us not excuse the abject performances of Griffith’s, commons, and Brown
    If they had turned up the handball would have been irrelevant

  • 19 April, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Well done to Inverness, but the only thing missing from hampden today was the aprons tied around the officials waists

  • 19 April, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Agree with comments about cheating refs,however kris commons takes a corner they run up the park game over!! Him griff,joe Hanson were not at the races today,poor poor show..thot forest was starting to get going wen ronnie hooked him..let\’s get fired up for the run in..hail hail.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Disagree Eddi.

    There were a number of points in the match where two of those were nullified by the refs interventions or lack thereof. Wee fouls let go here and there, no advantage played, early booking.

    Not to mention the obvious biggy.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 5:50 pm
  • 19 April, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    From the SFA website report on the match:

    ” The former Hibs man headed at goal but was denied by Jose Meekings who looked to have got a hand to his shot – much to the Celtic team’s frustration.”

    …Jesus wept.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    It was never a penalty… he only used one hand…..
    I suspect the press will say that ref is highly regarded and of course they\’ll mention how he\’s hurting and what a great guy he is….. wait a minute I\’ve heard this before…..

  • 19 April, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    The last time Celtic took a stand the incompotent/biased muppets went on strike. The only weekend ever we had decent officials who reffed the game as they saw it.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    We’ll always feel totally in agreement of the Biased behaviour from those so called officials towards us how they sleep at night Hell Knows Geography will always be the biggest Bind in Celtic Hearts as we all know not just those in football those who are not of The Glasgow Celtic Way / Family are all made up from the result today we live in a very Biased Nation this will never change !! Unless Celtic move into a New League A European League but sadly this change is a long long way off !!

  • 19 April, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Until our gutless board stand up to the SFA cheats what chance will we ever have. John (the war monger) Reid told them No More and never followed it up with any real actions.
    The board of Directors at Celtic FC are accepting the obvious bias injustices dealt out to us by the cheating Hun refereeing Lodge.
    We are seeing change in Scottish politics for that same bias reason and could be sending over 50 MP’s to hold Westminster to account.
    As our gutless board is unwilling to stand up for our club a similar change is required within the cheating SFA and the only way to hold them to account is to deny them the Green £.
    I know this is a drastic measure but sometimes drastic action is required and it is required now.
    I would suggest a Bhoycott of all Scottish Cup matches & Scotland games I would also go further and to Bhoycott all Scottish away grounds until the cheats get the message that our gutless board should have delivered years ago. NO MORE

  • 19 April, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Listening on the radio today the pundits were laughing at the performance of the, so called, officials as opposed to either being embarrassed or calling it inept.
    The real question should be:
    ‘What happens to a referee when a performance is so bad as the one witnessed today?’
    Is there really any amount of coaching going to help such rank incompetence?

    You could have, not five, but five hundred officials on the park but if they are told, as we have often heard, not to give a decision by the referee then they may as well be forced to pay in like the rest of us!

    The really galling thing is that these guys were on over £800 to be that incompetent today. Thank goodness we are not short changing them!!

    I’m sick fed up of hearing these guys are the best batch we’ve had in years. They are unapproachable, arrogant, over paid, and grossly incompetent. In other words they mirror the upper echelons of the SFA exactly.

    As for the rest of the article; well we have no divine right to win every game. The fact that we have spent the best part of £7M trying to replace Hooper is to say the least annoying. We are now faced with the prospect of losing Denayer and Virgil forcing us to rebuild the centre half area, we have no go to forward who can dig us out a hole, we are industrious in midfield but no one to split a defence.
    I personally would go for Adam Rooney from Aberdeen for the forward roll but as for the other positions I haven’t a clue.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    What the hell have SNP MPs goin to Westminster got to do with todays game?

  • 19 April, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    The referee didn’t cost us the game today. We lost because too many Celtic players thought they had won simply by being on the park. Brown, Johansen, Commons, Griffiths were all utterly useless and the others were littel better. Why on earth Tonev took the field is beyond me. Our defence resembled the Keystone Kops at times. ICT wanted it more. They played better. They had more energy, desire and urgency in their play. Not to mention skill. They outplayed us. Scott Brown probably earns more in a week than the entire ICT team. There is no excuse for a display like that from Celtic – it is not good enough. We pay our players an absolute fortune by current Scottish standards and too many of them are just not worth the money. That result today has been on the cards – 20 minutes against Kilmarnock aside, we have been rank rotten for weeks. The league is a long way from over. If we don’t buck up our ideas we could very well blow that too.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    A scandalous decision. If I\’d been managing Celtic today we wouldn\’t have been reappearing for the 2nd half till the ref and the other offending officials had been replaced.

  • 19 April, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    We greet when things like this happen. Blatant cheating based on a sectarian agenda but it will blow over and we will move to the back of the bus again.
    The question remains what are we as a club and a support going to do about it?

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