Alan Muir, the disgraced official who “missed” the Josh Meekings handball that ultimately cost Celtic their shot at the domestic treble last season yesterday “missed” two new stonewall penalty kick claims as the Hoops beat Motherwell by 1-0 to top of the SPL.
Yesterday’s victory came courtesy of a goal from Nadir Ciftci, the big striker we signed from Dundee Utd in the summer.
It’s his second goal for the Hoops, and his first match winner, and I was pleased for him and for the manager.
It must have been a difficult decision – it was certainly a risk one – to leave Leigh Griffiths on the bench, but it paid off.
Nir Bitton appeared to get injured late in the match – which will worry the Hell out of all the fans before Thursday’s Europa League tie – but the return of Stuart Armstrong to the side will have given the troops reason to believe.
Scott Brown was also excellent, and I don’t think there’s a single Celtic fan who would be sad if he did decide to give up on international football to more fully focus on his career at our club.
We defended well, not that Motherwell pack much of a punch.
But we were comfortable, although they did their best to frustrate us.
It was Alan Muir who really managed that.
How does this guy get a gig refereeing top football matches?
Even if you don’t assume that his eyesight fails him any time it’s a decision involving a player in Hoops, this guy is clearly useless.
The decisions yesterday weren’t even close, and if he can miss those he has no business being a Grade One official.
After the League Cup debacle last year, which we still don’t have legitimate answers to, there were a lot of people within Scottish football who were so appalled they said he should never get a high profile game again.
But he’s worked his way back in, and yesterday’s match was live on BT Sport.
It’s simply inexcusable for an official of such lamentably low standard to be given a game like that, and the best defence he’s got is that he’s useless.
Otherwise we’re watching one of the most biased officials since Hugh Dallas.
There are some who will say that I’ve no basis for saying that, but Dallas was fired for sending a sectarian e-mail when everything is said and done.
I don’t care that he’s still the darling of the refereeing community; he was a bigot and the game is better without his sort.
His reputation was destroyed by that dismissal, despite landing on his feet at UEFA for a while, and if you ask me it’s not wrong to go back over his performances and scrutinise them for potential wrong-doing and the virulent anti-Celtic bias we’ve often alleged he showed.
Numerous games come readily to mind, including the one where he was hit by a coin and within seconds had awarded Rangers one of the most dubious penalties you’ll ever see.
Dallas, of course, was the refereeing supervisor and was well placed to advance the careers of those who thought about things the way he did, and if you’ve read Paul Larkin’s book By Any Means Necessary you’ll know this isn’t a paranoid fantasy.
Am I saying Muir is biased?
I’ll let the individual readers decide, but we’ve got three incidents here which aren’t even close, aren’t even remotely debatable, in which he’s been on the scene and he’s given us precisely nothing.
In addition to the penalty incidents yesterday, Motherwell players were allowed to inflict brutal tackles on Celtic players without sanction, and that adds up to something we ought to be keeping an eye on as a club.
What was he? “Temporarily unsighted” for the whole 90 minutes?
I don’t really care whether he’s biased or not.
The point is, he’s clearly an absolute waste of space who shouldn’t be near a top flight game and that’s the issue, above and beyond whether or not he develops myopia whenever there’s a Celtic shirt in the vicinity.
At every other organisation in the game, people pay a high price for failure.
Managers are sacked, players are sold, careers hang in the balance and millions of pounds are at stake.
At the SFA, its leaders never suffer the consequences of their actions and that percolates down through every level.
Dallas himself was sacked because he was caught cold; but there was ample reason for running him out of town on a rail before that moment arose.
At the SFA they think they are untouchable, and match officials have long wanted to be the only people in the game exempt from criticism or examination.
There’s a bloody good reason for that.
Some of them simply wouldn’t survive scrutiny.
In any other business, Alan Muir would already have gotten his jotters.