The Inverness player, who’s clear handball on Leigh Griffiths cross was the catalyst for a frenzy of stories and editorials following Sunday’s game, now risks missing the Scottish Cup Final because the SFA is determined to press their excuse that none of its officials saw the incident in question.
This is a blatant example of throwing a player to the wolves to cover for a disgraceful piece of officiating. I hope, and everyone should hope, that Meekings succeeds in his appeal and is allowed to play in the biggest game of his career.
I don’t blame the player or his club one iota in this. Nor do Celtic, or any Celtic fans. This decision was nothing to do with them. Indeed, it seems clear that they would have accepted the red card at the time without complaint.
In the aftermath, as the questions start to pile up, the SFA has reverted to type and closed ranks.
This compounds the initial disgrace.
Inverness are furious, and have released a statement saying they are “taking legal advice.” They know, as we all do, that the only grounds on which the SFA can discipline the player is if all the officials missed the incident. So this is not, as some have suggested, a case where the SFA are claiming that the officials did see it but didn’t think it was deliberate.
We are being asked to believe that the people who’s job it was to watch for moments like this were amongst the only people in Hampden who didn’t quite see it. That stretches credulity to the snapping point.
Celtic have already asked for clarity, and been shot down in the press.
Now both clubs have serious issues with the decision and how it’s been handled.
Celtic has asked the SFA to explain what happened. This is not, as some of the media have said, Ronny Deila or Peter Lawwell demanding to know why a penalty wasn’t awarded. They are asking precisely what passed between the officials, and what their interpretation of the incident was. Celtic know, as everyone does, that the official behind the goal said something to the referee. Whatever that was, the need to know is now greater than ever. This travesty just became a scandal, as I suggested in the piece earlier today that it might.
Inverness’ threat to bring in the lawyers does open up one interesting possibility here. The officials involved will now have to appear in front of the panel and explain themselves. If audio exists of their conversation that will need to be released to Inverness.
We may well get to the truth about this after all.
That they are going with the “stonewall strategy” – that no-one saw anything at all – amazes me and Inverness’ reaction to it must have made Celtic’s night because the club no longer has to utter a word about this situation. All at Celtic Park can now leave this in the hands of the Highlanders. They appear to have the measure of the governing bodies here.
Because watching the TV footage, one thing is clear; the guy behind the goal saw something and he communicated that to the referee. Now, if he told the referee there was no contact between the players arm and the ball then there’s no case to answer for Meekings and the decision to discipline him is nothing short of a travesty.
If he said to the referee that the ball came off his hand then that’s a penalty to Celtic, and a red card and the referee has to answer for why that didn’t follow. Everyone is now asking the same question; what really happened in those few seconds that may well have cost Celtic the treble? This incident materially affected the direction of the game.
Will it now have an influence on the cup final too? That would be a further disgrace.
One way or another, Inverness’ refusal to accept the ban opens this can of worms wide.
Celtic’s decision to query this, and the reaction of our supporters in saying that it’s time for some form of change in how these things are done, suddenly doesn’t sound quite so paranoid, does it?
I look forward to the editorials tomorrow accusing Inverness of arrogance.
Of telling them to “stop bleating” and get on with things.
But I don’t expect them.
But then I didn’t expect answers either here.
Now it looks like we may get some after all.
Free the Inverness One.
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