Aberdeen Are Like Celtic. They’ll Moan About Bad Decisions, But Then What?

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In a tight title race, or in a major cup match, one of the very last things you want is for there to be the slightest doubt that the officials are going to play with a straight bat.

Now, because of events at our own club I would prefer to focus on that subject this week but the simple fact is that refereeing in Scotland is a subject we cannot ignore. Especially now.

This weekend saw a number of bizarre decisions, but only if you don’t know how things work here.

The free kick Hearts scored their second goal from is a travesty of a call; that’s not a foul in a hundred years. Our lack if physicality is exploited routinely now by teams who know they can get away with subjecting us to the rough-housing treatment whilst every 50/50 challenge we make is punishable by a free kick or a booking.

Remember, officials do not have to be dishing out red cards or giving penalty kicks to influence a game. That’s just one of the misunderstandings which have brought Scottish football to this sorry pass, and one that needs acknowledging.

Aberdeen published their match-report on their website this morning and it was scathing about the officiating. This is so typical of what clubs, including our own, do.

If you’ve watched the highlights – about all I could stomach even as a writer trying to examine a story – you’ll see that if we’re going by the standard of refereeing support (I make no bones about using that word) that Ibrox has gotten over the past two months that the pull on the Aberdeen jersey in the box is a penalty kick. Just using those which Ibrox has had as the benchmark, it’s a stonewaller … but neither the ref nor VAR has given it.

At some point, don’t clubs get to the point where they just won’t do this anymore? Don’t they get to the point where they see that the only way forward is to get together and fight this stuff?

It doesn’t matter if what they believe in is that “you don’t get decisions in Glasgow” or if they think that this really comes down to just bog-standard officials … sooner or later, don’t you start wondering what solutions there are? Don’t you start thinking it’s time for them?

If Aberdeen really do believe they’ve been done out of silverware by bad officiating why are they limiting their response to a couple of lines in a match report?

If Celtic are really concerned that there are obvious patterns here, and not just actually laughing behind the scenes in the way they are doing in public, then what are they prepared to do about it?

Does this need to cost us silverware too before we take it seriously? When does this board stop patting itself on the back and actually get proactive in defending us from this garbage?

If there isn’t a full proposal on how to reform refereeing in this country sitting in a desk drawer somewhere at Parkhead, whether at the level of a university thesis or an actual officially commissioned report from professionals, then we really do have people sleeping at the wheel.

Other clubs must have thought about this. I know that fans of every description have.

So when do clubs get real, get together and present those proposals to the media and the supporters and start lobbying their fellow directors?

That’s how change happens, and if we’re not going to do it we deserve everything we get and so do the rest of the sides in this league.

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  • Martin says:

    It has arguably already cost us silverware this season. I don’t see the board looking particularly bothered…

  • John L says:

    Too many clubs have managers, directors and board members who are huns, so the chances of anyone else complaining is zero to nun. They only complain if it’s us that get any questionable decisions. We are up shit creak without the proverbial paddle. Plus looking back, it’s already cost us trophies.

    • Jas says:

      The defeat at Rugby Park showed we weren’t going to get anything when the last minute stonewaller was turned down.
      Lawwell joking and bragging at the AGM turns my stomach, we’re going back to 94 with the Kelly’s and White’s.
      It’s time for boycotts of merch, programmes and food etc

  • Tony B says:

    I don’t know about Aberdeen but the Celtic board appears content to let things go on the way they are, so long as it doesn’t affect money in the bank and their bloated salaries.

  • Seamus Campbell says:

    Brilliant article James. This has bugged me for years and the farce that is VAR is driving me to despair.
    I genuinely thought VAR would really clamp down on “honest mistakes” but all it’s done is given them the ability to award or not award as suits.
    A complete overhaul is the only way forward, and for me, no supporters should be refereeing their teams games first and foremost.
    27 years a season ticket holder and in all seriousness if things stay as they are, this could be my last season.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Great journalism once again by The Celtic Blog !

    James – I was down in England last week to watch and support ma favourite English team (an unfashionable one in The Championship)…

    They didn’t win any of the two games which is fine as that comes with the territory in that unforgiving and highly competitive league –

    But you know what – They never lost because of cheating by officials with whistles, flags and monitors, they were beaten by a better team on the night and that was it…

    No controversial decisions that influenced anything on the field of play in both games –

    In the pub I tried to explain the ‘situation’ up here regarding Sevco – They just weren’t interested in Scottish Football anyway and just said nothing was highlighted on Sky Sports (no surprise there then) !

    I showed them some stats about the Sevco penalties situation (not a Celtic forum opinion but an independent one) and they were genuinely shocked by it and did say it was incredible especially given that Sevco (they called them Rangers) had in their words won ‘virtually nothing’ this century…

    But that’s what we’re up against – Sky won’t flag it up so The English don’t know (not that they’re interested in this football farce of a country anyway) –

    But that’s all we’re gonna have anyway – a guy like me in a few pubs in a northern town in England trying to explain things to a few fellow football fans that aren’t really interested although they did give me the courtesy of a sympathetic ear to be honest…

    We are HUGELY up against it in this banana republic of Scotland and I don’t see it changing any time soon as Sevco have the officials, the governing football authorities and the media all sewn up to their commands –

    I’m glad that I chucked it paying through the turnstiles at Parkhead and that’s where ma season ticket money goes now – a couple of trips a season to England to watch a few championship games…

    At least I’m getting honesty and no dishonesty or corruption for my money thankfully !


    You don’t get it.

    This is Scotland.
    Nominally a Protestant Country.
    The Kirk suffers from the same problem our Chapels do .
    Dwindling numbers through the door.

    A lot of our support self certify as Catholic but haven’t been inside a Chapel since their Confirmation days at school, except that is for Weddings, Baptisms or Funeral Masses. The other lot are the same if not more so.
    But the Country is still self Certifies as Protestant.

    In all meaningful walks of life in Scotland, Protestantism as a religion has morphed into a pseudo entity that incorporates the
    ‘ Ludges’ Masonic & Orange and manifests its strength in local business, Local Authority employment or Elected Officials and SEVCO, by any name, is their God.

    The Chairmen & Directors of the majority of Scottish Clubs come from successful Scottish Businessmen / Women and they know the lay of the land. They in all probability write off 6 points at the Start of the Season for games against SEVCO and channel their energies towards the games against us.

    In the same context, statistically speaking, the majority of the players now playing in the SPFL and Lower Leagues come from a nominally Protestant / SEVCO background and are quite at ease with the ‘Honest Mistakes’ and the the ‘Agricultural Knuckledragging fraternity’ relishes the freedom from censure afforded them by our Corrupted MIBs Officials and VARMEN oan the SKY.

    Our Country is not as Religious as it pretends but we still self certify, in the main as one or the other with the subconscious links to the Big Two Clubs.

    Unfortunately there are more of them than us.

    There is no appetite for change as most of those in the game now playing, Officiating, Running the Clubs and responsible for the ‘Governance’ of the Sport see nothing wrong with the Status Quo.


    • Eddie O’ says:

      Nonsense! Freemasonry accepts any religion? The problem is that we have them on our board. On the pitch? (Our captain) and our very own manager? And our most famous one? That is why they can’t say anything! Wake up Celtic fans!

  • mmccartney says:

    Football in this country is corrupt, There are no doubts about it, instead of VAR contributing to making the game honest, it is making the game even more corrupt. As a guy whose 1st Celtic game came in 1950 I’m a bit late in the day for not taking an interest in Scottish football, I really don’t blame some football fans for maybe giving up the ghost with domestic football in Scotland
    You’ve got referees who favour one team officiating games that their favourite team are taking part in, then you’ve got some other refs terrified of offending the team from down Ibrox way in case letters of complaint are written to the corrupt SFA complaining about some imagined decision that went against them.
    Our board treat their own supporters like fools, therefore they’re quite content to be treated like fools by the Scottish football authorities.
    Scottish football clubs are Limited Companies, why they accept this clear infringement of fair competition which can affect the share price of these companies, beats me..
    Fair competition cannot happen in Scottish Football until Referees are banned from officiating any game where the club they support or have any connection with through work or family ties are playing.
    I would say that in Scotland this would mean some foreign refs having to be brought in to referee some games, I really think this is the only scenario that would bring some kind of fairness to Scottish Football.

  • Dan Tinney says:

    Sounds good to me, when do The Boards of Aberdeen and Celtic get together to encourage the majority to join them in draining the Hampden Swamp ! The Bias and incompetence at the SFA has gone on for too long. The
    ‘Inbreeding’ in The Refereeing. Department needs to be exposed for what it is and flushed away and the sooner the better for the whole of Scottish Football .

  • John says:

    I’m sure everyone in Scotland (outside sevco) shares your view James, the problem therefor is FEAR, I can understand diet hun clubs (Hearts Kilmarnock) in fear of the brethren, only one man Turnbull Hutton has ever been brave enough to speak out,
    WHY WHY WHY ???

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