Hampden Laid Out Its Stand Against Scrutiny Yesterday. Celtic Should Be Appalled By it.

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Yesterday, before the afternoon games kicked off, I listened to BBC Sport Scotland “debate” the Penalty That Never Was and VAR in general, and I knew as I did so that Ibrox was not going to get the big explanation it has publicly demanded, and it has nothing to do with the Association being run by a cabal of dastardly fenians.

Quite the opposite. The SFA and the SPFL are stacked from floor to ceiling with people we cannot and would not ever regard as our friends. A former member of that group is Bobby Madden, who seemed to be bringing some sense to the debate over the weekend’s decision, and so when BBC Sports Scotland had him on I parked my reservations about his character and I listened to what he had to say. That’s when I realised what’ll happen here.

I very much doubt that Ibrox will get its big inquiry or its big public release of audio, and not only because it would leave them looking severely embarrassed. They won’t get it because in the words of Madden and others, it will “set a dangerous precedent.” It will “open a can of worms.” It will take us “down the slippery slope” where every club will want the same thing.

It was fascinating yesterday listening to the “pundits” on the BBC try to reconcile their wish to see this blososm into a scandal with their understanding the unspoken message Madden was trying to convey; don’t let things get out of hand here.

Transparency sounds good to me for the very reasons it sounds bad to Madden and those within the walls of Hampden. That’s like allowing your experiment to escape the lab. These people would be perfectly happy to give Ibrox anything it liked, but other clubs are correctly going to wonder when they get the same rights and the same privileges.

There is no way that the SPFL and the SFA are going to agree to full transparency. And Ibrox is posturing knowing that they wouldn’t want it either.

Their run of penalties came to an end yesterday; I have a theory about why and I’ll write it later on. But the important thing to note here is that it is not in anyone at Hampden or Ibrox’s best interests to drive this thing beyond the point where all the foot stamping risks anything having to change.

As I said yesterday, Ibrox is fully aware that the audio of the decision was available to the Sky team and probably some of the other broadcasters as well, so there is already plenty of make-believe and fakery about this whole affair.

There is little doubt in my mind that we’re watching something which is at least partially staged; Ibrox’s lunatic second press release about the timing of the meeting was too nuts even for them to be issuing for real, although our hapless gullible media ate it all up without any of them questioning the logic behind it.

I mean what’s really going on here?

Are we genuinely to believe that Ibrox is requesting the audio because they believe in a conspiracy to deny them a penalty which those at Hampden could never have given them even if it was their fondest wish to do so? The offside renders all this noise and fury irrelevant as well as a little ridiculous, so what is it all about?

We’re all being fed a line of pure BS. Sure, Ibrox wants Collum out the door, but what is the rest of it about? What’s with all the fakery? The SFA knows Ibrox is probably already aware of what’s on the audio, so why aren’t they calling them out on it?

The BBC discussion, and in particular the involvement of Madden, reeks of the SFA at least trying to send a message to Ibrox that the subterfuge is in danger of getting out of hand. The longer this drags on the more likely that some other club might jump into the debate and tell all involved that the time for all this West of Scotland psychodrama is at an end and that real transparency and openness has to be the order of business going forward.

And nobody really wants that, as I said in a previous piece. Ibrox will push but only so far. The SFA will flex but only so much. Like any staged fight, it is important that the two combatants realise that in an effort to make it look real that one might land an actual blow … but that nobody benefits if it spirals out of control. This will certainly not be allowed to.

In the meantime, the clubs which might actually welcome real changes – and I have to believe that we are one of them – are standing on the sidelines watching this absurd dance play out. The demand that the audio should be made public was the accidental blow, one that doubtless caught the SFA by surprise. The one rule that has been respected by Ibrox is that it is not in their interests to pull the lid off this can of worms.

Watch now as everyone steps back from the brink.

Which means that Scottish football will just have to continue to suffer until someone gets real. It won’t be Celtic, for whatever reason we don’t want to rock the boat, but we should be ashamed to play any part in this charade, even the part of distant observer.

But this cannot go on.

The last few days have been abysmal. The media’s conduct has been frankly disgraceful. Ibrox’s has been unhinged, in no small part because they have crossed lines that they weren’t required to cross and gone much further than Hampden might have guessed.

At the SFA they see the big picture, from their own side, and for their own selfish ends. They must be shocked at the recklessness of any team demanding transparency, especially when our idiotic media might take them at their word.

Neither side wins if that happens. The last thing they want is the disinfectant of sunlight.

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  • AsthmaTIC says:

    Given the accidental blow, why don’t Celtic – in conjunction with other SPFL clubs – back the request for transparency and ask that the audio be available in real time to each bench. The benches can see the replays on the side-lines, why not get the conversation first hand to save any misunderstanding?

  • Unrepentant fenian says:

    The best thing Celtic could do is back sevco’s quest for the audio show them up for what they are and then how can the sfa deny any other club the same request
    Celtic forever

    • Captain Swing says:

      I second that! Call their bluff! Were Celtic to “demand” it as well, the SFA would be sweating like Michael Jackson outside a nursery, then they would have to get muppets like Keith Jackson to do a volte-face and reassert refereeing infallibility again.

      Demonstrate to them the nature the law of unintended consequences…… Mwahahaha!

  • John Copeland says:

    Don’t be flabbergasted in the least If the Rangers bigwigs threaten to unveil a ‘secret ‘ dossier that the clumpany has been compiling for this special moment …har ,har har ,de, har har !

  • John S says:

    Microphones on officials. Not just the match but 24/7. That’ll sort it. As for the howling statements, these feed the consumer addiction to explanations for failure. A sort of negative hope, if you like.

  • Paddybhoy67 says:

    All yesterday’s penalty award does, is to reset the clock for another 2 years of penalty credit to Sevco. Just about everyone and their granny knew that an incontrovertible pen would be given in an inconsequential game.

  • Mark B says:

    I am no conspiracy theorist. But I can see 71 games without a pen is a bias statistically (and I think 44 before that too). I thought the Johnson handball was a pen but offside nullifies it. Also I actually thought Turnbull being pushed by TAvernier was also a pen and not sure he was offside. Not sure why that’s not being discussed. We have had a few calls in our favour in recent games at Celtic Park and Ibrox including Roofe goal disallowed for tackle by Dessers and Morelos for a push on Johnson too. Either of those could have gone the other way too. So in games v Celtic I think decisions have been ok. But I do think the penalty thing for and against Our rivals at Ibrox remains a bias that needs addressing against other clubs especially. Kilmarnock pen is a step forward.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      One step forward Mark…

      And then another 74 weeks backward !

    • Charles Leslie says:

      I would argue that Walsh failed in his duties as a referee. McGregor 18 fouls in the game and only booked after the 15th. Johnson already booked elbows Sima and doesn’t receive a 2nd yellow card. The hand ball causes controversy because Walsh and Collum said it didn’t happen??. But Walsh gives a bye kick instead of a corner? Mic up the refs as in Rugby and let us hear their reasoning for the absurd decisions.

  • Adam Thomas says:

    According to media sevco got an apology for the ((alleged)) handball and got the result they where looking for but 2-1 was the result thar mattered

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