For the past year or so, a lot of my guys have been frustrated by the tendency by officials not to add on the regulation injury time for Celtic games.
When we have teams on the rack you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a solitary one minute no matter how many stoppages there have been in the game. It’s tantamount to cheating.
That’s a big word, isn’t it? A strong word. But I think it’s a valid one.
Ask anyone in the media if they think this title race will be close; all of them will say that it could come down to a single point, or even a single goal. Goal difference has decided titles before up here.
It will definitely do so again at some point in time.
So when the fourth official raises that board and it has a single minute on it, you have to ask yourself if that is justified. At the weekend we made a rash of substitutions and scored nine goals. The first half was extended because of an injury. Are you really telling me that there was only one minute of legitimate stoppages in the second half?
What nonsense that is. Three minutes would have been a more realistic assessment, and yet I was not surprised when I saw that board with the one on it. The fourth official and those around him seem to think they have some duty to enact a mercy killing when a team is being pulverised by an opponent, but that’s most assuredly not part of their job.
Their job is to calculate the number of stoppages and make an assessment based on what is in the rules. They aren’t there to make sure that a team on the end of a hiding gets spared further misery or embarrassment, and yet you see this time and time again.
If they aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing then yes, they are cheating and I don’t have any difficulty using that word.
We could have been on for a tenth goal at the weekend.
Records could have been set to tumble, and the fourth official shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of that because he wants to go easy on the home team.
To some it will be a minor matter, but these things can have an impact even if it’s not immediately obvious.
This isn’t something we should be making a song and dance about, but it’s something we should be asking about behind the scenes.