Celtic Players Didn’t React To Goldson’s Handball Because There Was No Point.

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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.

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  • DixieD says:

    If the outstretched arm hit by the ball is being used to support a falling/sliding player then its not a penalty. If the outstretched arm is NOT being used to support the player then a penalty is awarded. His arm is in the process of being placed on the ground to support him as he falls, so it’s not a penalty. It’s pretty clear. He may have been ‘cute’ and made sure he blocked the ball, but you can’t deny its a supporting arm as he falls.

    • Martin says:

      Correct Dixie. Brennan’s quotation is incomplete and the training that goes aló g with the rules would back you up. That caveat is for the player whole slides along with arm trailing behind rather than Goldson’s. Celtic players didn’t react because it was obviously not a handball offence. The Ibrox team have gotten away with an awful lot this year, but this is not the hill to die on, James, because you’re simply wrong if you think that was even worth considering as a penalty.

  • Benjamin says:

    Paul actually has the rule wrong. There used to be a provision in the law where a player would not be penalized if his hand/arm was on the ground. That used to be explicit. The law has been changed, and there is no reference to the ground in the law anymore whatsoever. The only thing that matters (other than (1) deliberate handball which is always penalized, and (2) when a player who handles immediately scores which doesn’t apply here) is whether the player “touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger.” That’s the extent of the law as it now stands, and that ambiguity is why there’s been so much consternation not just in Scotland but around the world this year. The crux of the analysis boils down to whether Goldson, when he put his arm down to brace his fall as he goes to ground attempting to block the shot, made his body ‘unnaturally bigger’, or alternatively if it was ‘naturally bigger’. Sadly, UEFA’s new wording of this law means there is no objectively correct answer, and the only opinion that matters is that of the match official.

    For my 2¢ I didn’t think it was a penalty in real time, and even after replay I still don’t think it’s a penalty. With that said, decisions like this are always going to be controversial because ‘unnaturally bigger’ is not very well defined, and referees across the world have not been consistent about what it means. We’re at a point where every ball contact with the hand/arm is going to be a controversy and two sets of fans using the same language in the same law to defend their position, and neither set of fans being objectively wrong.

    The only good thing, if you can call it that, about this particular incident is that it ultimately had no bearing on the outcome of the game.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    It looked to me more like an outstretched arm than a supporting arm.
    Lets face it they’ve messed around with the hand ball law so much that it’s become easy for any referee and VAR to justify whatever decision they make. That spells danger for us as the refereeing brotherhood in Scotland is largely made up of anti Celtic bigots.
    We’ve been good enough this season to overcome some of the bizarre decisions given against us. Ange must surely realise what he’s up against in Scottish football and know his team have got to be a lot better than the rest to overcome these decisions.

  • Kevin Dunne says:

    Hands-on Goldson and ALL at ipox have Thier OWN rules and fellow masons (ref,s/var) just do as they,re told in Thier ear pieces

  • Bennett says:

    I’m from Liverpool, a Liverpool fan, I’m also an avid hoops fan, through 60’s, 70’s and 80’s if Liverpool weren’t in Cup finals, semi finals, I’d make my way up to parkhead, hampden for semis and finals, on top of half a dozen league games a season, the item here, is spot on,
    And I seen this happening years ago,
    And it’s worse than ever theses days,
    It seems uefa, fifa, are not willing to investigate anything, with the quite open bias of SFA,
    Something, and I do not know what, needs doing to rid the sfa, of corrupt decisions throughout Scottish football.
    Corrupt bigots run the game there, but huns will never be a global club, as both Liverpool and celtic are.
    Another treble….
    SFA won’t learn will they !!!

  • Douglas Johnston says:

    It does not matter what the rules are , they have there own rules for one team.

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