I just watched BBC Scotland’s highlights package from last night. The coverage of the Celtic game was a fair reflection on what went on in the match – with us well on top but unable to finish – and a few flashpoints were showcased for good measure.
But the discussion that followed was absolutely abysmal and shockingly one sided. Everything was about how well Dundee Utd did, without us getting any praise for creating so many chances. Jota, who was a stand-out man of the match, was barely discussed.
All of that I can live with, because on a day when we’ve failed to win we’re going to get some stick and the opposition is going to get some praise. But some of the over hot topics were either ignored or covered in a wholly biased way by Steven Thompson.
Let me say right off the bat that I usually like Thompson. He’s not a typical ex-Ibrox player in the media. He is usually fair minded and gives an honest accounting. Not last night though. There were at least two major incidents which he didn’t cover, and one which he and the BBC staff chose to cover in a misleading fashion. Let’s go over them one at a time.
For openers, there was no second look and scrutiny of two horrendous challenges; the one on McCarthy in the first half and the goalkeeper’s scandalous foot-high lunge at Abada. The first of those is a straight red card every day of the week and the more you look at it the worse it gets. The challenge on Abada is one of those that you can see a red given for because it’s reckless at best.
Yet neither of those incidents was deemed worthy of debate. It must have been an executive decision not to discuss possible red cards last night, because, of course, there was no analysis as to whether the Ibrox keeper should have walked at Dens.
Indeed, so completely air-brushed out of the narrative was that discussion that James McPake – who raged about it to the extent the ref sent him off after the full time whistle – was never shown discussing it in the BBC highlights either, although he certainly did. It was as if no controversy existed there, or with the two challenges at Celtic Park.
They showed Carter Vickers challenge in the box from every angle and the agreement was that we got off with one; but in fact, we should have had a free kick seconds before, with the obvious shoulder charge which led to that chance never even looked at a second time. How can we take seriously coverage like this, which completely ignores an obvious foul to concentrate on a decision made a moment later? There is no consistency to it at all.
Thirdly, and finally, there was no scrutiny at all as to the one Ajeti put in the net, because he was adjudged to have fouled the defender beforehand. I watched that incident in slow motion and in real time and I’m not seeing an obvious offence. To me that’s a goal, but they didn’t even think that it was worthy of looking at and actually talking about.
A failure to discuss one of these incidents is probably something you can live with. Missing two of them is pretty poor form. But to fail to discuss either of the Utd red cards, the foul we should have had before the “penalty” claim and the goal that never was … that’s deliberate, as was the failure to have a discussion about whether McLaughlin should have walked at Dens.
We can speculate on the possible reasons for this bizarre set of editorial decisions as we like; I said last week I found Chris McLaughlin’s sycophancy on how our rivals were “hot favourites for the treble” to have been faintly ludicrous … perhaps we should assume that the BBC is trying to find a way back into Ibrox’s good graces.
Celtic didn’t do well enough to win yesterday; that’s a fact. We got what we deserved for a performance with too many missing pieces, too many bad decisions, too many slack passes and lapses in concentration. But we’re entitled to a fair shake of it when it comes to the scrutiny of critical incidents during the game.
And the BBC certainly did not give us that fair shake last night.