So today we got a decision from a ref. A stand-in ref. That ought to be the killing blow for that poor sod’s career. The Motherwell manager is raging. He says we get preferential treatment. I am already bored by it. Tomorrow I’ll do a larger piece on this, but notice that tonight there’s no outcry in the media over an accusation of refereeing bias.
Celtic aren’t allowed to get decisions, contentious or otherwise. I thought, by the way, it was a penalty. We were lucky it wasn’t given against us. The ref has ruled it as non-intentional but I have seen them given plenty of times before and on another day it would have been. But this season I can remember a couple that haven’t gone our way.
Don’t let anyone use this to tell you that refs are even handed in their mistakes. Even as the media wants to focus on this, they aren’t focussed on a straight red challenge which Aribo made or the way Robbie Neilson is screaming about the decision he was sent to the stand for protesting, one of the most blatant red cards you’ll ever see unless you’re a Grade One official in Scotland.
The headlines tomorrow will be about the decision Motherwell failed to get, in a game they weren’t in, in a game where we had total control. None of that will matter. The standard of refereeing in this country is the absolute pits, and we’ve said it long enough and I’m saying it again tonight and admitting that today we got one in our favour.
But you dare to push this to its logical conclusion – that we need massive reform of refs – and these same managers will crawl back into the long grass. Ask the Motherwell manager tonight if he’s saying refs are biased and he’ll probably mumble about “influenced” by the size of the big clubs, which to me is the same thing in a different suit.
But ask if them if they’d support real reform and see how they run.
For tomorrow, the story will be about lucky Celtic are and how the system favours us. Honest to God, we’ve been arguing about refereeing for weeks now and none of the issues we’ve tried to highlight will get a fraction of that which this single decision gets.
It deserves to, by the way, but then they all did.