If, like me, you realised that it was a matter of time before a decision happened that was so ridiculous that it tested the patience even of Ange Postecoglou, then today was the day it arrived. The big guy handled it with a lot of class.
I would have preferred him to lose the nut, but I’ll talk later on in the piece about why I have a lot of respect for how he did it.
But today, we saw what ridiculous was. A Celtic player was booked for getting kicked on the deck, the ref allowing it and our player getting slightly angry about that.
Whilst waiting for justice from the ref, he gets man-handled again, this time by a player on a booking, and our Grade One (no laughing) official responded by booking Carter Vickers and yellow carding the thug who had a boot at him whilst he was on the turf.
This, by the way, is the same ref who sent off Porteous in his last game for winning the ball against the club across the city. His future rise at the SFA is virtually assured; they know they can rely on him when the chips are down. He was awful today.
Two things emerge from the game; the first is that they were disputing, on Clyde, whether it was a penalty to Celtic and Davidson wanted to have a debate about it; this is such nonsense. This is their way of deflecting attention from the otherwise reeking performance of the whistler, not to mention doing their usual of attacking any decision that we do manage to get.
Walsh did not want to give us anything today. He gave the penalty only after ignoring three blatant lunges in the run-up to it.
He allowed so much before finally stopping play I felt it was a matter of time before a St Johnstone player drew a samurai sword to test the limits of the ref’s tolerance for their rough-housing. If it was outside the box there’s a little justice in the world tonight, but from where I was sitting this is simply more media whingeing and another manager attempting deflection because his team failed to lay a globe on us.
For the second time in quick succession we got a decision – one, and a correct one, in a game where there could have been many more in our favour and should have been – and that single moment of contention is being used to deflect from other moments which were way more controversial. For the second weekend, a manager has said we get decisions we shouldn’t; my answer is the same as it was last week.
If they saying refs are biased we agree; let’s have it out there, let’s open the discussion for real instead of continuing to dance round it.
St Johnstone’s manager thought Walsh was terrible.
They did on the radio as well. But we also thought his performance reeked and some of his decision making was highly suspect; we’d like to see something done about it. It’s just not clear anyone else does.
For the first time this season, Ange was moved to comment on the ref, as he expressed his surprise at the Carter Vickers booking. He didn’t elaborate. He didn’t lose his cool. He didn’t want to make a big deal about any of it. He was unflappable.
Ange thinks we have to beat the ref as well. He wants the players to focus on doing the job, nothing else. He wants the players to go out there and handle everything that is thrown at them, and that includes whatever shockers the officials dish out.
I understand it, but I don’t agree with it. There are things which our team shouldn’t have to tolerate and must not tolerate. I am loathe, myself, to blame refs when our management team makes mistakes or players don’t give everything they have, but we all know that there are days and decisions which aren’t like that, when the officials do decide the event.
When those days come around, I doubt our manager will be as calm as he was today.
For him to mention it at all it took something pretty extraordinary.
Today it got truly ridiculous.