When Celtic launched their complaint against Crawford Allan earlier in the week, the assumption seems to be that they did it because he annoyed us by raking over the Kyogo thing again. To be honest I very much doubt that we cared about that any more than we did the rantings of Kris Boyd or the unfunny snarking from Ally McCoist or other assorted idiots.
For sure, we weren’t particularly concerned that he chose to offer the pro-Neilson interpretation of a dropped ball incident, because I can’t imagine a single soul inside Celtic Park can understand, for the life of them, all the flap about that. It is one of the most ridiculous over-reactions to a decision of no consequence whatsoever that I’ve ever seen in football.
Celtic were not complaining about the words that came out of Allan’s mouth but that they came out of his mouth on national radio; that he sought to use them; that he saw fit, in this case, to try and explain things. Celtic wants to know “what’s so special about these decisions that he has rushed to explain them at all?” Except that they benefited us.
You know, we had weeks of dreadful decisions and a media which didn’t really want a discussion about any of them. Many of them benefited one specific club or penalised ours. There was a good reason why the media didn’t want the discussion.
And then suddenly they were having it. Because decisions started to fall for Celtic. I said at the time of the first of them – the alleged handball against Motherwell, which the press looked at it from every angle like it was a viral specimen in a science lab and still managed to miss the Motherwell playing handling the ball first – that it was amazing how animated the media could get when a decision went our way. That was back in October.
On the same day it happened, Hearts were at Ibrox where, at the end of the game, Robbie Neilson was just as furious as he was after Celtic Park, and he laid into the officials for two appalling decisions which went against his club.
Those incidents didn’t generate half the heat or noise that Celtic’s alleged handball incident did. The media wanted to ignore them both. Clear red cards, none was ever given a second look by the compliance officer or anyone else.
Even the most contentious refereeing decision this season – certainly the worst, by a long, long way – the sending of Ojo for Aberdeen against Dundee Utd for pushing a fan when everyone there knew the fan had actually pushed him, did not get the head of refereeing onto the radio to explain what had actually happened. It was left to ex-SFA official Darryl Broadfoot to “explain” that one, which he tried to do but only cemented the view that the whole process is a disgrace.
But a Celtic goal which the hacks think shouldn’t have stood, and a ludicrous amount of focus on a drop-ball which went our way, seems to have been the “enough is enough” moment. Suddenly it was cool to scrutinise refs. Suddenly their decisions deserved to be explained, although I’m willing to bet that Crawford Allan won’t be back on any time soon.
Certainly, he won’t be in an official capacity and that’s part of the problem here too, because he went on the radio to “explain” these pro-Celtic decisions he didn’t do so in an official capacity, which is why Hearts have submitted their own complaint about his appearance.
According to Robbie Neilson, he had tried to contact Allan several times in the week between the incident and his radio appearance, and he was told, finally, that the head of referees was on leave. So that means Allan actually took time out from his spare time to make his BBC Sports Scotland appearance. Which I’m sure Celtic is puzzled by.
This reeks of appeasement. The media made a song in dance about it, some Sevconuts pushed hard and explanations were demanded. The way everyone in our press corps leaps on board any passing anti-Celtic or pro-Ibrox bandwagon is shocking.
Today the Ibrox club is at Hearts. At the time of writing, it’s 2-0. The first was quite possibly offside. The matter will barely be looked at. I wonder if Neilson will even muster up the frustration to complain about it. Certainly, the head of refereeing will not scamper to the nearest TV or radio station to set the record straight … and that’s the problem.
If this was a new point of policy we’d applaud it. If it was the done thing, we’d support it. But there seems to have been a decision made to treat the Hearts game at Parkhead as an exception to the established rules and Celtic wants to know why.
We all want to know why. Although we kind of do already. It doesn’t take the codebreakers at Fort Meade to work this one out.