You all know that I study language and how it is used, and there is a classic example of that today on Sky Sports News, as veteran English official Dermot Gallagher studies the incidents from the weekend and gives his view on the penalty we never got.
After talking first about the teething issues which Scotland will have – as refs “get used to the system” – the very first incident he discusses is the handball which we didn’t get. I found the use of language highly interesting here.
“In the Premier League that’s a penalty,” he said.
And then he repeated the point as if it wasn’t clear enough. In Scotland, he says, there is more “tolerance” for these handball incidents.
Yeah, but only for certain clubs and in certain circumstances … because we have seen these given, this season, but just not to us. Nor to sides going to Ibrox.
But it’s clear enough from Gallagher’s comments that he knows what goes on up here. In the EPL I don’t think there’s the slightest doubt that’s a penalty. Indeed, I cannot imagine any league in Europe where a decision like that doesn’t result in a spot kick.
Look, we’ve all seen tight decisions and close decisions and that was neither of those things.
That is a scandalous decision, and that’s the only word that adequately describes it. Unless you want to lean into words such as “corrupt” which I think is probably equally applicable.
As I said in my first piece, it will soon be 200 days since we got a penalty in the SPFL. If we don’t get one as clear-cut and stonewall as that it makes you wonder how much longer it might be before we get the next one.
Those making excuses for Walsh’s decision are frankly taking the piss. When even Willie Collum says it was a penalty that removes the last shred of doubt, and the last fig-leaf that these people can hide behind.
Now one of the most eminent officials in the recent history of the game has weighed in, and he’s made it clear that this is a decision which could only have been made in this league.
We know it and we know why he thinks so. It is outrageous that there is even a debate on this. Walsh should be made to defend that decision … but he won’t be and that’s the real problem.