Operation: Save Clement Has Celtic Fans Rethinking What “Scottish Refereeing” Looks Like.

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Last week, I wrote that a long-standing joke online is that if you take Tavernier in any “anytime scorer” bet with a major bookie before the start of every match involving Ibrox you have a chance of coming out of the weekend with a profit. I speculated that this is such an obvious strategy for making money that perhaps that’s the source of our problems.

Perhaps, I suggested, somebody in officialdom has decided that’s a viable way to pad the retirement fund. If that’s not being looked into somewhere, maybe it should be?

The other long-standing joke amongst Scottish football fans is that every game they play revolves around this simple calculation; “they haven’t had their penalty yet.” I realised yesterday that in recent weeks things have gotten so bad that we’ve more and more been saying something new, and it’s a fundamental shift in how we view officiating.

“They haven’t had their second penalty yet.”

That’s how I put it yesterday, and to my complete lack of surprise they got it about five minutes after I’d uttered those words on my supporter’s bus on the way to our game. And most people around me had been waiting for it along with me.

At one point after the Hearts debacle at Ibrox, I had said to someone that if Tavernier misses one in a game you can virtually count on him getting a chance to score another one before the match ends, and so it proved.

In the aftermath of the game, Livingston’s manager barely raised a squeak over this phenomenon. I keep on hearing people say that Celtic should be calling this stuff out, and I agree to an extent.

But I’ve started to ask myself a different question in recent years and once again it’s what was foremost in my thoughts when I was thinking through the weekend’s football.

Celtic doesn’t care because this stuff barely affects us.

It barely affects us because we just keep on winning. Yes, it keeps the Ibrox club on our tail and it makes sure that Operation: Save Clement has gotten off to a good start, but we’re not the ultimate victims of what goes on in the official’s room whenever the Ibrox club plays domestic football.

After yesterday, Martindale’s hapless team has lost five games in a row. They are bottom of the league having played a game more than both Ross County and St Johnstone, and two more than Aberdeen. They are in real trouble.

They are in serious danger of going down this year, that’s the reality of their predicament. They can’t afford to be on the end of decisions which are clearly designed to make sure Clement gets a honeymoon.

So, if they don’t care, if they’re not raising a stink, if they’re just taking it on the chin, why in God’s name should Celtic put in their hard yards on their behalf? Or on behalf of Hearts, or Aberdeen or Hibs or any of the other clubs which routinely pay a much higher prices for our “standards” of refereeing than we do? They suffer for it, and they are content to accept it. Until they start taking the matter seriously, why should we?

This isn’t even a joke anymore; it’s blossomed into a scandal. The first decision they got yesterday was an outrage. Nobody really believes they deserved it, but they can’t sack a third manager in the space of two years and so this guy was always going to get something of an easy ride and a helping hand and that’s exactly what they have provided.

Yes, Celtic should speak out.

But at the end of the day, why should it only be up to us? Why should we be carrying the water for every other club in this country? Their conduct is pathetic. They roll over and accept this stuff as if it’s simply another part of the game. Until they decide not to take this stuff lying down decisions like yesterday will keep on happening.

The first step is obvious; clubs need to vote down VAR and put it in the bin where it belongs. But it cannot stop there. If these people start to take this seriously VAR is doomed, and that’s how we’ll know.

Otherwise, I have no sympathy for any of them.

We’re already on “when do you think Ibrox will get their second penalty?” How much worse do things have to get before these people start speaking out properly?

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  • John L says:

    We can’t and shouldn’t speak out for others who accept any brown stuff that is thrown their way, but it is happening to us on a regular basis and it’s only a matter of time before it hurts us really bad. The sooner Livingston and any other team with a plastic pitch leave the better. Not long ago it was being considered, Martindale for sevco , unemployment office beckons and good riddance .

  • Mickey Whelan says:

    Spot on James, it’s a sad state of affairs the way the other clubs accept the corruption and ridiculous decisions by the Officials. Week after week.

  • Tony Murray says:

    I hear what your saying but have to disagree, the two penalties that the other Glasgow club were awarded yesterday cannot be disputed, much to my disappointment, but they were penalties, I can’t speak for others as I’m not in the habit of watching the other Glasgow clubs matches, VAR was something I never wanted but now that it’s here we have to accept its here to stay in fact I think it’s only going to get more automated, and in the future most games will be controlled by AI, God help us all.

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ TM ‘ cannot be disputed’ ?! Don’t know what game you were watchin, the first one was an obvious dive and was even made clear by the camera behind the goal. Keeper never touched him.

    • Allan Loveman says:

      Aye alright hun first was a pen …..we see ya Billy

    • Hugh says:

      It is not that they get penalties that are genuine although their first was a no contact dive. The problem lies not only with their dodgy ones but the many that other teams don’t get against them. How many games in league have they played without conceding?

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      I’m hoping Patrick Thistle or Queens Park got awarded two penalties on Saturday then Tony…

      Because the least successful in history of the other three based in the city apart from Celtic of course (That’ll be Sevco then) did absolutely not receive two ‘undisputed’ spot kicks yesterday –

      I respectfully disagree on the first one where the latest cheat to emerge from Liebrox (McCauseland) was well on the way down before the Livvy goalie was anywhere near him…

      The second one however – I agree that it was a penalty 100% due to the utter stupidity of the defender –

      VAR actually did it’s job fairly and well on that particular occasion…

      It’s all that I want from VAR is fairness – Even If it is a penalty to Sevco !

  • John says:

    Scottish football is now only interested in one club and keeping them close to Celtic in any way possible. It is plain to see the reasons for this, 1) Celtic dominate scottish football and the scottish FA hate this. 2) ‘The rangers’ know this and besides being given every advantage on the pitch they also by their actions towards every other club in scotland and the FA. themselves is a reflection on scottish footballs need to keep this club.
    This situation will only get worse as decisions on the pitch have now deteriatated to a complete farce and this league is now a disgrace to football as a sport.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    This is (Not) so very Bonnie Scotland – and so nothing will be done about The Huns…

    I live in an area where we share pubs with Sevco fans –

    On Saturday not just one but two were ‘bragging’ about how they’d Definately be ‘getting a penalty’

    I asked one was he not ashamed and truly embarrassed by what was being given to Sevco by bent and corrupt officials…

    His reply : “We deserve them because we’re a top team now under Clement”

    Just how do you respond to that ?

    Doncaster actually inadvertently did me the biggest favour ever when he said “Rangers (his words not mine) are the same club – Absolutely”

    That gave me the perfect excuse to chuck back ma season ticket as our board said nothing and looked the other way…

    Thank goodness that I don’t pay one thruppeny bit towards this bloody farce of a ‘sport’ – actually call it what it is – bent and corrupt competition !

  • Dinger says:

    Come on wake up sevco has to be saved after all they are a national instition

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      They are only a national institution to those of a Brits type Butchers Apron waving and loving psyche…

      That much is obvious looking at some English Championship Club’s forums’ take on their poppy political displays..

      However Dinger – I do realise that you were being pedantic and sarcastic in your ascertation of them !

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Tbh dae Aberdeen have any point in goin tae Hampden ? If the ibrox club are winnin say, by a couple of goals, there won’t be any interference. Doesn’t have tae be. Tho if that game is close, ye can definitely expect somethin happenin, that’ll influence the game in their favor i.e. Some dodgy decision, an Aberdeen sendin off, or of course a penalty. Whatever happens, ah suspect Aberdeen are never gonnae be ‘allowed’ tae win and deny them this trophy. Won’t happen.

  • SSMPM says:

    Couldn’t agree less about getting rid of VAR particularly in the way you suggest. It is a mechanical device and does not lie. It is its use, the rules applicable to its use and those dodgy operators that interpret and apply them where fault lies.
    In effect the many ‘strange’ decisions that used to be made on the park by dodgy, corrupt or in some cases totally inefficient refs has now been transferred to the VAR lodge decision makers room. There is clearly too much inconsistency in those decisions made from one week to the other and from what teams they are applied to with a positive slant.
    For me, simply getting rid of VAR is absolutely the wrong way to address that issue, for now anyway.
    It’s the complete lack of accountability for those dodgy and in some cases clearly and evidentially wrong decisions that’s absolutely missing. If some refs are dodgy, bent, corrupt or incompetent then the answer for our club is not to get rid of a machine that doesn’t lie and that actually highlights their fault.
    Simply to return to those very same people making the decisions on the park without scrutiny is a wrong move at this time. It’s would be a knee jerk exasperated decision taken before fully exploring the alternative routes available to prompt positive change to its application.
    Some of the rules need changing eg the freeze frame view being the final view to making a decision in isolation of the live in action view and the amount of time it takes up to come to that decision.
    More importantly from our fan’s perspective, the complete and utter silence from the Celtic board on the matter is shaming. Complaints to and meetings with the associations, football and referees, highlighting faults in rule application is deafening. No letters of complaint as far as I’m aware. No statement/s through the press and media highlighting our dissatisfaction with VAR application. No meetings set up to address the issue, nothing. An unchallenged system allows it to continue.
    Our board is not part of the solution it’s part of the problem. I suggest, respectfully James, that you and other bloggers focus your ire at them, their inaction and their contribution to the problem. If that then is unsuccessful, either by the inaction of our board or action by them that is clearly not going to be resolved then aye that is the time to withdraw our support and funding for VAR. We need to walk, take the steps first and then if that then proves pointless, run. HH

  • Magua says:

    Unfortunately, the PLC board have more weighty matters to consider, than cheating refs and the weekly assaults on our players…like keeping their snouts firmly in the trough and screwing the Celtic support for every penny. I hope their behaviour is called out at the upcoming AGM.

    Hail Hail

  • Peterbrady says:

    The corruption and cheating is unbelievable and no club or supporters from these teams say anything just bend over and take it . Bit eventually the bookies expose this scandal just like in snooker when it costs them so much . How far and how deep is the corruption from all in the media administrator referee associations to anyone connected to sevco or deid club/team from the past the present or the future if we get a 3rd entity out of the auld hoor of edmiston drive hopefully not . The question is this what dies 1st the whole of Scottish football or what.

  • Stephen says:

    100% Agree.
    Who would support a club with a sevco supporter in charge.
    If we just keep winning no problem.

  • bertie basset says:

    it’s obvious the new young master playing for sevco is well versed in the art of diving , even tavpen is waving his arms like a drowing man for the cheat to be awarded a penalty , sevco and it’s a MIB cabal are rotten to the core

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Btw, nothin tae dae with this particular article, Tho after havin another look at post match Boyd, ah totally agree with other supporters, that Aberdeen, Barry Robson AND Celtic should be re-thinkin and takin this so blatantly Celtic hatin, bile filled clown tae task over his comments and demand he explains himself. If they don’t get satisfaction, ban him from Pittodrie and Celtic Park and if sky want tae defend him, fk them. When is enough gonnae be enough wi this moron ?

  • John S says:

    VAR should have been an opportunity to review refereeing ‘mistakes’. Critical to this would have been impartial analysis. If the SFA cannot find competent unbiased officials then it is not fit for purpose.

  • John says:

    Getting rid off var not the answer. Need more transparency like rugby. Huns will get pens with or without var.
    The question which should be asked is, why are other countries not having the same issues as UK. Cheating, not knowing the rules or incompetency.

  • SSMPM says:

    The trouble with our board not complaining now, when we’re winning, is what happens when or if we’re not winning and the rankers are winning? eg St, Johnstone and Hibs games.
    That may, though I doubt it, be this season with injuries and a closing gap or next season.
    Does our board still keep quiet then or do they speak up when it’s too late.
    The press, media and Boyds of this country will have a field day with us in their support of their favoured club and we’ll be accused of ‘sing when we’re winning’ and only ‘moaning when we don’t’.
    Quite frankly our boards’ stance currently is verging on the corruptible. It’s not on our own side where it needs to be. That 1st hun pen was a shocking decision but one that they got and, as you say, missed thus requiring of another though more legitimate one. This board needs to speak up now, we as fans deserve more from them in this matter. HH

  • Graham Laurie says:

    Celtic need to call it out James as if it wasn’t for biased refereeing denying us two stonewall penalties at Dingwall, and two wrongly disallowed goals, we would have hammered Ross County 7-0. Then there was yesterday when that Aberdeen thug should have been red-carded for knocking Kyogo SPARKO. If they had been reduced to ten men halfway through the second half, we could have hit them for TEN, then how much of a massive goal difference do you think we would have over them? Willie Collum as Ref and Kevin Clancy on VAR, it’s obvious that Scottish Football’s only two CATHOLIC Refs have been intimidated as Sevco have fired off letters of complaint about BOTH.

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