The Scotsman Has Jumped The Shark With Its Article On The Steven McLean Punch

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I wrote a furious article in the aftermath of the game this weekend, when I saw the appalling attempt by Steven McLean to punch or elbow young Kieran Tierney.

It was an atrocious moment, and worse was the decision – inexplicable unless he simply thought that red-carding a player at Celtic when his team was defending a 1-0 lead wouldn’t do at all – to show only a yellow.

This morning, whilst checking out the websites as I do every day, I caught sight of a headline in The Scotsman, which sought to explain the referee’s bizarre decision. I got the gist immediately on realising that the article would have not one but two writers … in the sports section of a Scottish newspaper that’s always a bad sign.

Note to the editors; unless we’re talking about an article of mammoth importance, which requires diligence and research, there’s no Scottish sports story that justifies a shared by-line. These guys aren’t Woodward and Bernstein trying to bring down a president.

And unless one of them is a trained psychologist the article itself has limited value.

One is a former ref.

Which explains it, to a certain extent … but still. Are we to believe this guy needs help putting his inane thoughts into complete sentences? You know, there are people who have doubts about the average IQ of our refs … but that would take the piss, surely?

No more than the article itself does though.

I read it and thought, “Two people worked on this? Seriously? Did one hold the pen and the other the paper?” Because that’s all that makes sense.

The theory is ridiculous. It has no merit whatsoever.

The article is entitled “Why the referee didn’t send off Steven MacLean at Celtic Park.”

A headline like that, you expect something authoritive. Hell, with two writers on the case I expected something with the substance of the Magna Carta, resourced, researched, backed up by precedent and a statement from the ref himself at the very least.

Instead we got a shoddy theory.

The theory goes that the ref couldn’t send him off because the player doesn’t come close to making contact.

It ignores that the reason for that is Kieran backed away quickly, or the contact would smashed his face in. It tries to cast doubt on the camera angle, which to me was perfectly fine. The journalists who watched it afterwards had no complaints.

“Taking that into account, along with the fact the two were in physical contact with each other before MacLean swung his arm, we can only reason that MacLean could have punched or elbowed Tierney if he wanted to,” it says, a quite bizarre assertion. “There’s little evidence to suggest he tried to strike his opponent and missed.”

Little evidence except for the video that shows him do it, I presume?

“The confusion comes from Collum’s decision to book MacLean,” the writer(s) says.

No, there’s no confusion about this. The ref decided that to send off a St Johnstone player would be detrimental to their chances of getting at least a point … that’s the be all and end all of it. Too many people in Scottish football have spent too long telling us how it embarrasses the game here that we’re on this unbeaten run … why should I believe anything else?

Here’s the explanation for why it was a booking and not a red card;

“Collum doesn’t believe MacLean was deliberately trying to strike the defender. Instead, he’s booking the veteran for attempting to intimidate his younger opponent. Though MacLean’s not trying to hit Tierney, the way he wrestles his arm away is done in an unnaturally aggressive manner. This is enough to justify a yellow, but not a red.”

So it was a yellow card for “attempted intimidation.”

You show me where that is in the SFA rulebook and I’ll buy you a chocolate donut.

I say again, it took two of them to come up with that?

That excuse?

When they are coming out with such transparent guff as this you know there’s something rotten going on.

I actually though the media would just ignore the incident, as Celtic didn’t make a big song and dance over it.

They should have.

As someone smarter than me once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

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