Earlier in the season, Celtic complained about a decision and the head of refereeing, who is normally harder to spot than a cricket in an overgrown lawn, toured the media rooms of Scottish football to defend his referee. This weekend, no less a person than Ian Maxwell has come out to defend VAR because a decision went Celtic’s way.
We are the only club in the country who can do this. We’re the only club in the country which can spark a media firestorm against the authorities because a single decision goes our way. In the aftermath of the game we all knew this would happen, but when Malky Mackay darkly reminded people that the clubs pay for VAR that upped things a notch.
Maxwell’s statement was in response to that.
He can see the writing on the wall here. He knows what these discussions might do if left unchecked. That so many headlines are dominated by a single decision 48 hours after the fact shows us what we’re up against.
I always love the way the coverage spins against us. How one decision for us “disproves” that there is anything dodgy in the ones that go against us. What? Even if the decision we get is basically correct? This is where their shaky defence falls to pieces.
Ange said he doesn’t believe that this stuff “events itself out” for us and he’s correct.
The curious thing about the last two games is that we’ve gotten penalties at crucial moments, as opposed to getting decisions when the issues are already decided. But with the football we play we’re in the opposition box more than other sides and so we will tend to get decisions … in my view we don’t get enough of them.
Both penalty decisions – against Hibs and Ross County at the weekend – were correctly given. That’s at the heart of the issue Ange has raised. We’re not getting favours here. Two correct decisions do not balance two abysmal decisions to “even things out” and so we must follow the lead of the manager in continuing to challenge this dishonest narrative.
The VAR officials have been awful since it was introduced, but amidst all the decisions being argued about – and have we had one that didn’t generate a week long media frenzy? – has anyone but Andrew Smith looked at Ibrox’s astonishing penalty kick stats?
Not even those which they get … but those which the opposition doesn’t get?
It’s as if this incredible “statistical anomaly” isn’t a thing, as if it’s like all those ridiculous stats the media keeps running which “prove” that Ryan Kent is the most effective player in Scotland.
For a press corps which loves to focus on stats, they are doing everything they can to ignore that particular one. The first time they get a decision against them they will suddenly write about how amazing that run was … and we’ll go straight into a new one.
The Ibrox penalty kick “anomaly” is a vastly more interesting story, and a vastly more revealing one, than anything VAR has conjured up … except it’s VAR and some of the scandalous decisions which its operates have thrown Ibrox’s way which has finally got people looking at that record. Which is what many of us hoped VAR would do.
Still, every Celtic decision is blown up into a massive story.
And why? Because it keeps people from looking at the real one.
Nearly 50 league games without the club from Ibrox conceding a penalty.
If you want a clear-cut sign that something in our game is very, very wrong contrast that with the story no-one wants to write and ask yourself who benefits from the scrutiny being on us and not on them?