Dermott Gallagher doesn’t know the handball rule.
Paul Brennan at CQN clearly understands it better than he does, because he posted what the actual rule is today and that makes it pretty apparent that Gallagher, who actually did used to be a referee of course, fundamentally misunderstands it.
“If a defender’s hand or arm is on the ground when it collides with the ball inside the penalty box, no penalty is awarded. If the ball hits the outstretched hand of a falling defender inside the box, a penalty should be awarded. While he was falling and before he landed, Connor Goldson’s outstretched hand collided with the ball inside his penalty box. The referee – and more importantly VAR – declined to award a penalty, in clear contravention of the rules,” Paul wrote this morning.
Gallagher seems to be basing much of his contention that Goldson’s latest handball isn’t a penalty because Celtic players didn’t react to it., and therefore they must know the rule.
I’m sure they do know the rule, but it’s not the rule Gallagher thinks.
They know the Connor Goldson Rule.
That he, alone of every player in this country, is allowed to foul in the box and handle the ball in the box, and no decision will ever go against him for either.
Celtic players didn’t react because frankly there’d have been no point, a lesson which has been hammered across to us this season over and over again.
We’ve seen worse ones not given and which involve this guy and we’ve had people like Gallagher and others tie themselves in knots trying to justify them, including his netball effort earlier in the campaign … we know better than to even hope for a positive outcome in those circumstances and the media’s excuses and attempts to hand-waive these away are a variation on the same theme.
You know, someone sent me a stat the other day – which originated on the Ibrox fan sites but which I have little doubt is true – that said we went through an entire campaign around 2014 without conceding a penalty in the league and that, in fact, we conceded only a handful of them over the course of two campaigns.
And what? My point was never that this is totally unheard of; Liverpool have been on a similar run to the Ibrox club this season and I’ve been following the course of that with great interest.
But that it’s happened twice, in a very short space of time, at the same club is unheard of, and that we’ve watched that club and can actually run off a long list of incidents which any other side would have been penalised for does make it a peculiarly Scottish set of circumstances.
When you are confronted with a stat like this it is helpful to put it into some kind of context and to do that we need only ask one question; in how many of those games were there decisions which should have resulted in the awarding of penalty kicks and didn’t?
And that’s where the story lies, and where it’s always lay.
If it wasn’t for those decisions, would any of us have even thought twice about how long it had been since they had a league penalty kick given against them? Of course not.
We know what we’re watching, and it’s because we know what we’re watching that we can actually put that record into its proper context. And here, as with so much, context is everything.
There are decisions every week involving them which leave rival managers baffled and outraged … it’s that, as much as the record itself, which allows us to regard it as suspect, and that’s why there were more than a few people who expected that when it no longer mattered that a spot-kick would go against them at the weekend.
But as I argued last week, that game certainly mattered, to them more than us, and this is why the Celtic players didn’t respond and why most of us didn’t even register surprise at the moment the ref ignored it.
Of course he did. Of course the operators of the VAR system didn’t think it was worth a second look.
I never expected otherwise.
And neither did our players on the park.
If Gallagher wants to draw a conclusion from that lack of a reaction, I suggest that he re-thinks the whole thing and draws the correct one.