Neil Lennon’s press conference yesterday wasn’t the car-crash we’ve come to expect.
Indeed, he got the bulk of it spot on except for one point I’m going to write about later. The part I agreed with most – and this won’t surprise regular readers – was when he talked about the referee’s panel.
It perfectly echoed our editorial of the other day.
I read Chris Sutton’s comments in disbelief.
There are times, as I’ve written before, when he talks just to hear the sound of his own voice and accusing a Celtic striker of diving is pretty ridiculous even by his loud-mouth standards. I am with Lennon on this.
If you watch the incident, the contact is clear. As there is contact there’s no way of knowing whether Ajeti dived or not. I thought there was enough contact to bring our player down. Lennon called it spot on. Clancy, for all his biases, got it spot on.
How a panel of three ex-refs agreed – all three of them – that Ajeti dived is inexplicable.
“If you’ve three referees looking at that and they can’t see that there’s contact, then I think the three referees need to be looked at rather than anything else,” Lennon said. I could not agree more.
It’s the kind of statement I want to give a standing ovation to.
I’ve written about this body of ex-refs before; Scottish football’s bizarre code of silence on officials and ex officials leaves us no way of knowing who’s on it, but there refereeing fraternity in Scotland is small and the available pool contains a lot of The Horribles.
Does it include former ref Hugh Dallas, sacked for sectarian emails?
Or folk like Stuart Dougal, Willie Young or Brian McGinley, who are all regular speakers on the Lodge circuit?
Or how about Dougie McDonald who lied to us about the notorious penalty kick at Tannadice?
The whole thing is rotten to the core, the whole way the game here operates.
It is well past time that it was turned upside down and inside out.
I don’t believe this board, under the current CEO, will do it … but things at Celtic are changing and hopefully that’s a step towards changes elsewhere.