Today the SFA published its list of the refs for coming games.
Our next match, in the Scottish Cup, will be refereed by none other than John Beaton.
He was involved in a number of incidents at Ibrox at the weekend, incidents which left the Aberdeen boss raging.
Incidents which BBC Sport Scotland went out of their way not to highlight. I’ll be talking about that later on as things over there continue to get progressively worse.
In the aftermath of the game Goodwin made a remark that has come to typify the situation facing clubs in this league; “We don’t expect to get any 50/50 ones when we come here,” he told Sky Sports, “But the big calls like that…”
And you know something? More fool him and his club if they travel to Ibrox with that attitude and restrict themselves to moaning about it after the fact.
If that’s the prevalent view – and it is the prevalent view, and it extends to visiting Celtic Park as well for these teams – then my question is simply this; “When do you get sick of it enough to do something about it?”
For that matter, when do Celtic get sick enough of it to do something about it?
We are all waiting on VAR as if it is a panacea, as if it will fix all the ills that afflict our game overnight, but it isn’t and one of the reasons why it isn’t is that it will not change the faces at the top, the men who will ultimately decide what gets punished and what doesn’t.
This isn’t a reason not to introduce it. I want it.
I want to make it harder for the referees to ignore the truly egregious calls.
I want to make it harder for them to make blatantly wrong decisions of the sort that genuinely change games. If they had to watch incidents over and over again the pitiful way they justify some of them would be denied them.
Still, it will be the same faces in charge. The same biases. The same incompetence.
If we’re going to fix refereeing in this game, then the introduction of technology can only be part of the solution. If clubs really want to sort it then they have to do it right.
And not for the first time, I wonder who actually cares enough to do it.
Not the chairmen of these clubs, it seems to me.
Because if the will existed it would have been exercised before now.
Not the managers either, and I have long suspected that a lot of them are quite happy being able to blame officials once in a while, or they might be under more pressure themselves.
It’s the final fig-leaf for many underperforming coaches … blame the refs for your downfall. This, I reckon, is why many of them don’t kick this matter upstairs to their bosses.
But some of them must. What are the clubs doing?
What is Celtic doing?
A few private expressions of dismay and regret every now and again? Does it actually move the needle? John Beaton should not be near a Celtic match in an official capacity and we all know this and we all know the reasons why he shouldn’t be.
Yet here he is, in charge of yet another massive game.
It’s not as if we don’t know what the fixes are.
Foreign refs for major matches would work for a start.
If we accept that we live in a small country where the bulk of the officials will support one of two clubs (an argument I don’t buy for a minute; most of them support one club) then surely the answer is not to have Scottish refs in charge of those games?
If our clubs and their chairmen acknowledged the reality of this, they could deal with it properly. If the SFA’s strange-hold on this was broken, then the league bodies could decide whether they want to take the SFA refs or go with the international pool.
As with the Hampden issue, this decision lies with people who do not seem to want to make it. Instead their managers will complain about it after the damage is done.
Our club doesn’t care, but it will be vocal for a day on social media if, as John Hartson suggests, this title is decided by a ref and not by our footballers. At that point, of course, is way too late for us to act decisively.
We are leaving our fate in the hands of people we do not trust, and that doesn’t often end well for you … and so you have to wonder what it’s going to take.
If Celtic led, would others follow?
The only way to find out is to step forward, and we show no signs whatsoever of wanting to do so.
In that sense, much like these other teams, we deserve what we get. If this comes back to haunt us we can, and will, complain … but honestly, we would be as well pissing in the wind for all the good it’s done up until now.