BBC Sports Scotland Knew Ibrox’s Penalty Yesterday Was A Joke. None Placed It In Context.

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Although we have some issues in our own house at this moment, this site has never shied away from talking about other issues, no matter what’s going on at Celtic. And let’s not pretend that there’s not another issue in the news, because we all know there is.

In fact, with the narrowing of this title race I’d say this is a more important subject than ever.

BBC Sports Scotland was really something to listen to yesterday. Their live match was at Ibrox, of course, and they were aghast at the penalty decision which went the way of the home team. They all knew it should never have been awarded.

This is what each of them had to say, and you’ll spot what was missing at once.

Leanne Crichton was appalled. “It’s never a penalty, never a penalty. The penalties that have been given this season, I can understand it when the defender’s caught wrong side, they’ve got a handful of the jersey, and at no point can you really say how much it’s impacted the player’s ability to get on the end of it. When the defender’s goal-side like that it’s literally two players trying to gain an advantage. There’s nothing in that at all.”

Rory Hamilton was equally shocked. “I didn’t even think twice about it, it’s just a challenge for the ball… there’s just simply not enough in it to warrant a penalty in that circumstance.”

Which brings us to Tom English. He was about as frustrated as he’s ever been, a man who was at the end of his rope with what he was witnessing happen. “It’s grim. It’s depressing. If this is what the game has come to that that’s a penalty then forget about it.”

But if this is what the game has come to, it has only come to that right here at home, right here in Scotland. This is not like everywhere else. They scoff about this one decision and they complain about the unfairness of it, but they refuse to contextualise it.

But this needs to be contextualised to be fully understood.

When you place it in context it then becomes clear.

Because yes, if they are giving penalty kicks for that, if that’s what it’s come to, then Ibrox’s record of not conceding one in the league is even more astonishing isn’t it? And the more astonishing it becomes the harder and harder and harder it is to write it off as the “statistical anomaly” some would have you believe it is.

We’ve seen penalties given all season long which defy belief. Every club has suffered them except one. People like Kenny Miller want the focus to be on the red card Ibrox got; first, it’s a red card and he deserved it. Secondly, of course they do. Divert. Distract. Make something else the story. Anything to keep people from looking at the real one.

Matt Lindsay – who I actually like as a writer – produced another dreadful piece on this subject the other day. It was dreadful because it dismissed those of us with concerns as kooks and cranks and conspiracy nuts. When the Hell will some of these people clear the cotton wool out of their heads and start thinking about this as they would if this was any other league?

There is something wrong here. You can believe, if you choose to, that Ibrox has done nothing at all to warrant a penalty being awarded against them in the last two seasons, but understand that if you do that you have to look at every decision they get and ask yourself how they could have gotten some of them under the same regime which hasn’t given one the other way.

And then ask yourself if you’re 100% certain that what you are watching is a straight game?

And if it’s not, what are you going to do about it?

You people with the national platforms?

And whilst Lindsay and others ponder that, they better speak to their colleagues like Andrew Smith, who has been excellent on this issue, and Richard Gordon and decide whether these guys are mad flakes or if they are simply willing to acknowledge what a lot of other people can clearly see?

I know that not everyone in the media believes in the party line.

There are some who harbour real doubts at the moment and I also know that if this was happening with an English club at least one of the major sports writers would be banging on about it after every game where the side in question were the recipients of a controversial call, and they would not be messing about pretending that the decisions they get at one end of the pitch and the ones that don’t go against them at the other are not inextricably linked.

It stinks. It is obvious that it stinks. This wouldn’t pass the sniff test in an abattoir at shifts end. The reek of it is overwhelming everything else in the game and yesterday I do believe that everyone in that BBC studio was of one mind, even if they didn’t express it. “This is getting beyond a joke” or words to that effect. But it’s not a joke of course.

Football is a multi-billion pound business, and even here in Scotland where our club regularly turns over sums at the upper end of tens of millions of pounds, there is enough cold hard cash on the line for people to be very nervous about what they are seeing.

I understand, in part, why people don’t want to dig too deep here. They are concerned that a scandal is the last thing Scottish football needs. But it’s a bigger scandal to allow this to go on. There are measures which we could take right now which would draw a line under this stuff. There are things we can do which will have a measurable difference … we’re here because we choose, we very deliberately choose, not to do these things.

And people like Lindsay can call us whatever they want. We care about the game and it is perfectly legitimate for us to voice our concerns about what we see happening in it, and we can all see that something is.

What does it matter why it is happening? If it’s corruption, cheating or bias? If it’s because Ibrox has officials running scared or because those officials harbour pro-Ibrox sympathies?

The results are the same and we’re something very badly awry… it’s certainly happening, it is right in front of our eyes and increasingly now it is the people who are pretending not to see it who sound like the ones on the fringes of reason. The longer this goes on, the harder it is for them to hold the view that theirs is the credible argument.

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  • Hans says:

    James, don’t disagree. But…why are we not highlighting the penalties that should have been given? Or are the subject of serious doubt? In this era, where every game (and every incident) is recorded, why are we not playing back to back reels of the obvious penalties weren’t given? That would be far more powerful than appearing to be just another conspiracy junkie.

  • Stephen says:

    The blue pound is to valuable to complain.
    Ask the Celtic board answer “penalty Rangers”

  • Jas says:

    The acute problem we have at Celtic is Lawwell has, is and always will encourage the huns to do what they can to keep the outdated OF alive.
    The huns with typewriters like to call out how many penalties we get, but that’s not the issue (even if it were true), no, they want to point to anything other than this 100+ league games when Sevco conceded 1 penalty, and when that one WAS conceded, the huns duly sent a strongly worded letter to the SFA about that particular ref.
    Since receiving that letter the ref in question was firmly put in his place by the LRA, but more worryingly its now been 70 games since any ref, and VAR, has decided there’s been no foul play for the huns.
    Jeez, we’ve seen Goldson clearly handle the ball several times without the need for “help” from their biased friends who also haunt the VAR booth.
    Until Celtic take up the baton and threaten an inquiry etc then the masonic SFA will do nothing and Sevco will continue on their merry way.

  • Charles Mcginness says:

    Excellent piece which addresses the point accurately. This is ruining the game and its so blatant. NO TEAM can go that period of time without at least one penalty against them . Rangers get one a game guaranteed. VAR has certainly highlighted the same old referee issues in Scotland but since nothing is done about they are laughing and rubbing fans faces in it. Time for an external enquiry . Irrespective of who wins the league yhe stat of this is simply bias and fuels the flames of the of what fans know is going on behind closed doors at all levels.

  • John Copeland says:

    Talking about watching a ‘straight game ‘ here in Scawlin ! The irony will be that Bookmakers shall have a huge say about corrupt penalties given to and red cards for the players of opposition teams to a certain clumpany every week . Why ? Because the Bookies are and will lose fortunes on winning bets for said events . They will go public about the highly dubious bets from punters as the profits shall take a hammering . They will demand a stop to the obvious winning bets and dodgy decisions. Imagine a Bookie complaining to authorities about bent sports games ….you could not make it up but on this occasion they will be honest in their accusations .

  • Tam says:

    When CELTIC don’t play well CELTIC struggle….. when “the rangers” don’t play well the officials on the park or in a room (VAR) or both help “the rangers” out.

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