Andrew Smith’s Remarkable Article Outlines Ibrox’s “Good Fortune” On Penalties.

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I have occasionally criticised Andrew Smith of The Scotsman on here, but I’ve also given this guy a lot of praise over the years as well.

He is one of the more consistent commentators on the appalling tunes from the Ibrox fan-base. He’s also been a persistent critic of that small number of our fans who let this club down.

He seems to be a smart guy and very often shows himself to be a good writer … today’s remarkable article from him is one of his best.

Smith does not mess about when he’s dealing in facts.

He simply lays them out there for us which I think is the perfect job for a good journalist.

Too many of them think the job is steering the reader towards an interpretation … that’s not what good journalism does.

I don’t think much of the Scotsman’s political readership and a paper which employs Joel Sked ought not to be an award winner … Smith however doesn’t dumb down. He trusts his readers to have intelligence and that’s why today’s article is so good.

Headlined “How Rangers have racked up a second recent remarkable run without conceding a league penalty”, it is a eye-popping recitation of some pretty incredible facts.

How about the one he opens with? That the run we’ve all talked about, the 21 games without conceding a league penalty kick, is actually longer than that and now extends to 38 games in the top flight without a single spot kick being given against them? That, as Smith points out, is an entire league campaign. But it’s not the only one.

In the past three years, this pattern actually repeated on an even larger scale; they went 44 league games without conceding a penalty between January 2020 and April 2021.

That means in the last four seasons (2019-20, 2020-21, 21-22, 22-23) they’ve had both a 44 game spell and now a 38 game spell in which the Gods of Officiating have smiled on them to a staggering degree.

Smith does not attempt to spell out what this means. He doesn’t have to.

What he does is tackle the first and most obvious argument; that they are some kind of super-disciplined defensive unit. As he points out though, we’ve been league champions three times out of the four campaigns that these timeframes cover. Yet we have no such corresponding luck. In that interval, they’ve had a mere four spot kicks awarded against them. We’ve had thirteen against us.

Indeed, we have, as Smith points out, been on the receiving end of some extremely bad penalty decisions in that time, including – as he says in the piece – two in a single month last year, in November, after the introduction of VAR.

Here’s the killer fact at the end; although four penalties have been given against them in the course of those league campaigns, in the last ten months whilst playing European football – i.e. without Scottish refs taking charge of their matches – they have conceded no fewer than six penalty kicks.

As any good lawyer would say, these are the facts of the case and they are undisputed.

At that point he’s done his job, and is happy for the jury to do its.

Smith makes no claims of bias, pushes no big conspiracy theory, he merely says “this is what happened, so interpret that as you will.”

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  • Faza says:

    The proof is there for all to see . scumbags ?

  • Johnny Green says:

    There is only one conclusion anyone can come to given those stats.
    European referees are biased against them. Ayr right!

  • David Owen says:

    No level headed person can argue with the facts that Andrew has eluded to.

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    Sadly it’ll remain so until, the sfa are cleared out and a new refs association formed. A refs association where it isn’t ESSENTIAL that you belong to a certain ‘brotherhood.’

    Anything happening before those two 100% necessary actions will repeat ad nauseam, like it has done for probably about 100 years, or as soon as the ‘crafty men’ could make it so.

    Nothing will change anytime soon in Scotland, it has always been thus and unless Celtic fans act as one leading the pack of All Scottish Fitba Fans, well; it WILL NEVER CHANGE.

    Someone has to get the masses acting as one, maybe an email campaign to UEFA/FIFA, because TALK IS CHEAP, and that’s all it ever is HOT AIR. CHAT.

    Someone with more brains than me, and that’s a HUGE number of peeps, has to get us all acting as one to press for these changes. The sfa will have to be dragged from Hampden Park, that’s act 1.

    The refs association HAS TO GO, it’s very telling that you HAVE TO BE A MASON to get into the Lanarkshire Referees Association… I mean FFS… this has to stop.

  • Mickybhoy71 says:

    I thought betting firms would have these stats and be right in giving them to uefa as a possible sign of corruption/betting irregularities.
    Do they even take bets on sevco getting penalties now? Or giving away a penalty? The odds must be low

  • David O'Neill says:

    Can all laugh and joke at the blatant cheating BUT only coz Celtic are years ahead of them and have a big cushion ie 9 points.. imagine it was level neck and neck and all this dodgy schitt was really helping them… Mmmmmmm

  • Justshatered says:

    The game at Parkhead where Kent ploughs into the back of Abada when he was about to shoot was another shocking decision. That was a foul anywhere else on the park.
    The fact Celtic won four nil meant that this incident was barely discussed.

  • Gordon Smith's Syrup says:

    Didn’t the tribute act go through a full season without one first team player contracting COVID . Of course sending your Clumpany’s tests to a Lab in Belfast ,might have helped though….Quite remarkable luck they are continuing to carry with them !

  • Eoin Baillie says:

    The simple main fact is ; no penalty can be awarded unless an offence is committed in the box. For all our +75% possession and dominance in games we cannot stop the ball entering our box, inevitably causing unforced errors or downright bad luck. We either have to live with it and win or completely stop the ball from getting in the box.

    • woodyiom says:

      Eoin – that is true but misses a critical point which is the same must be, and is, true of our rivals YET they are somehow not getting pens awarded against them which is what the author and others are questioning.

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