You know that old croaking piece of “football wisdom” which says that decisions even themselves out over the course of a season? It is one of the most ludicrous defences of bad refereeing that there is, and it isn’t true.
It isn’t even remotely true.
For starters, some decisions are more consequential than others.
Tell me how a match winning offside goal in a cup semi-final “evens itself out”? Are there a rash of cup semi-finals coming up where we can benefit from a similarly fortuitous decision?
Nobody at Celtic is making a song and dance out of this, and I’m not about to start. We were well short of it on the day and their goal had been coming. But it was indisputably offside and with VAR it would not have counted.
That was an enormously important one, not a throw-in, not a wrongly awarded corner, not a goal early in a game we won comfortably.
Yet we’ve seen everyone from the hacks to former refs and opposing managers pour their hearts out and rend their garments over such decisions all season long.
How come a vastly more important “error” on the part of officials goes largely unremarked upon? How can it be that a cup semi-final winner isn’t the subject of such wide-ranging inquiries?
Because it has happened to us? Too simple an answer? I don’t think so.
It seems like a perfectly logical answer, considering that none of the decisions which have gone against us in this campaign have had half as much ink and attention as those we got.
This one won’t even itself out. This one won’t be balanced any more than the Josh Meekings incident was. Those decisions have cost first season Celtic bosses from potential trebles … but we’re the ones who get all the big calls, eah?
Madden and his officials has an abysmal match, which does not detract for one moment from how bad we actually were.
But there’s a reason why Celtic fans are not sitting waiting on the national debate over the decision or, indeed, any of the bizarre calls which were made on the day … we know better than to hope for even the justice of scrutiny and vindication.
This is the environment we operate in.