The SFA Does Not Fear Celtic. But It Should, And One Day It Will.

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Chris Sutton said last night that the SFA is flexing its muscle in appointing Beaton to ref the game at the weekend. He called it a “power play.” For the second time in as many days I could not agree more. He also says they are wrong to do it, and I agree with that too, because it makes them look daft and it puts Beaton himself under terrible pressure.

But where I disagree is in that he thinks it’s a reasonable way for the SFA to show that it will not be dictated to when it comes to officials. And once again, I wonder why Sutton isn’t saying what every single one of us knows to be true; Willie Collum makes that a nonsense.

Let me tell you what else he failed to spot; that this isn’t a sign of strength at all. That’s only one of the mistakes the SFA makes here. The other one is in relation to us.

Richard Nixon introduced to the world one of the most dangerous concepts of the modern age. It worked for him, or so its proponents will say, and it has worked several times since. Its critics doubt that, and point out that it only needs to go dramatically wrong once, for someone to take it too literally, and we’d all be in a lot of trouble.

The concept he introduced is called The Madman Theory and the thinking behind it is thus; if a country’s adversaries think that the leader of that country is irrational, prone to anger and unpredictable they will utilise any strategy they can to appease that leader and his nation. Its proponents and supports still claim that Nixon used it successfully during the Vietnam War and in his dealings with the Soviet Union and China.

But history actually tells a different story. It was the Nixon Administration’s other foreign policy strategy, which Kissinger called triangular diplomacy, that was much more successful because it showed Nixon at his most farsighted and calculating. The strategy involved strengthening the links between the Soviet Union, China and the United States by seeking to work with both whilst subtly undermining their ability to work with each other.

That was the strategy that led to détente, to the first US links with China and ended the Vietnam War. Those things didn’t come about because they thought Nixon was a psychopath.

And yet, this is still not understood by a lot of people in politics, in business and in other fields today, who subscribe instead to The Madman Theory and go about their day-to-day lives practising the art of provoking concern and disquiet amongst colleagues and underlings.

One of the organisations which has embraced The Madman Theory is the one at Ibrox. In a football landscape with strong leaders this would have been tested to destruction long ago.

Samuel Seitz, the political scientist, said there are three basic failings with The Madman Theory first, some people don’t fully grasp the message (they think its erratic but not irrational), they do not see the madman’s ultimate threats as being credible and third, they recognise that if they are dealing with a genuine madman there’s no point giving in because you can never trust that they won’t just do what they were threatening to do in the first place.

The SFA should certainly have judged Ibrox’s behaviour initially on the basis that it was erratic and amateurish and unprofessional rather than genuinely dangerous.

After that, they should have dismissed Ibrox’s threats as having no credibility at all because whenever they have been thwarted, they have sulked and whinged rather than upping the ante. And third, they should have realised already that crazy or not, giving in to Ibrox only creates future problems as they find something else to provoke a fight over. They can’t be relied on or trusted in any way, shape or form. There are more grievances than trophies at Sevco.

But those at Hampden, whether at the SPL or at that the SFA, give in to The Madman at Ibrox over and over and over again, which, as I said, is insane as Ibrox has proved that it is, in fact, pitifully weak when it comes to responding forcefully on the occasions when those running things do tell them to sit down and shut up as if they were unruly children.

Chris Sutton spoke last night about the SFA decision to give John Beaton this game, just a few days after the Brendan Rodgers case, prior to which they’d already given us Don Robertson. He said that this is a pathetic attempt to act and look tough, to present strength. It actually makes those running our game look like petty, spiteful little bitches … and that’s the generous interpretation. There are some who will say that it actually makes them look corrupt.

One thing is for sure; they don’t think we’re to be feared and they are terrified of doing anything to offend the club from Ibrox.

Acting rationally and responsibly is a sign of weakness as far as these people are concerned, and those few occasions where we have taken robust action in our own defence hasn’t convinced them that we aren’t. They do not fear us because we do not appear mad.

That, in itself, is quite insane.

Look at the Collum situation and the Beaton situation side by side; we complained about him by calling him an incompetent and our manager was sanctioned and the club had him imposed on us for this fixture.

Ibrox called out Collum, actually accusing him of religious motivated bias … think for a moment about how that much stinks. They weren’t sanctioned. He hasn’t officiated in any capacity at their league games since.

Except this coming weekend where they have him there in such a minor role that it’s embarrassing and only highlights his months of absences all the more.

If the governing bodies think they project strength they are wrong.

But they certainly do not believe that our club does.

And that is where their gravest misjudgement might be. Ibrox projects strength it does not have, and the SFA bows to it … Celtic projects less strength than it has, and the SFA does not take us seriously. But they’ve failed to understand what that means.

It means that everything could change overnight.

See, the SFA has mistaken strength for will.

We lack the will to use our strength to the fullest, but we are far stronger than the club from Ibrox, and because we are not obviously run by insane people it makes it far easier for us to build and maintain alliances should we ever decide to try. Celtic’s issues are issues of policy and that comes from the people in charge; the simple fact of it is that our club has access to far greater resources, and far more sources of power, than the SFA realises.

We have allies at UEFA, where our chairman fulfils his one useful function to us. We have power at the European Club Association. We have access to legal advice from the best people, because we can afford it whereas the SFA and the SPFL cannot, and where even Ibrox would struggle to match us, for all their experiences with the law.

Furthermore, we have enormous political heft both here in Scotland, in the UK and in Europe and that comes from having a genuine billionaire on the board, a man with those contacts and that reach. Don’t underestimate our nexus of political supporters from across all the main parties. We have alliances and reach Ibrox can only dream about.

Celtic does not exercise its power … but that does not mean that it is not real or that we could not change that in the blink of an eye. It is lunacy for the SFA to believe that it can throw its weight around when it comes to Celtic, and it’s especially stupid when they make it so obvious that they are either afraid of or beholden to the club across town.

One day, the SFA will badly overplay that hand. Indeed, they may have done so already. Sutton is correct to say that this is a power play, but it is based on a very big presumption and a very stupid misunderstanding of where the power here really lies. Should we ever decide to give them a lesson it will be a harder one than they can afford to learn.

The only surprise, and frustration, comes from knowing that we could have done it, easily, long before now. If they push us too hard, they won’t leave us any choice.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    So when will that be then ? Wait until they’ve been handed this league by bent officials and back in financial stability ? If we lose, or are prevented from winnin this game, tae some sort of bogus, dubious decision, or tactic by either beaton or walsh, our board should declare out and out war with the sfa and fk consequences. Take them right on. Because right now their silence is every bit as bad.

  • Fun time frankie says:

    Imo they do not fear celtic because of the 5way agreement that liewell says he has never seen or read never mind actually signed, and at the AGM,GET RID OF ALL THESE TORY LIARS.Get a board with balls of steel and we might get somewhere.

    • Jas says:

      They don’t fear Celtic because they think the Celtic support doesn’t believe our board was in on the 5WA.
      I don’t know any Celtic supporter who thinks Lawwell and our board weren’t involved in the biggest sporting cheat in football.

    • Tommy says:

      We had a chairman who had the said balls of steel however our Green Brigade didn’t like his presence on the board

  • Tony B says:

    Crawford Allan should be sacked now as he’s not fit for purpose and is seriously compromised, but it won’t happen.

    The SFA should resign en masse for similar reasons, but that won’t happen either.

    Both parties might cost Celtic tens of millions next season.

    What, precisely, can Celtic do about it?

  • Henry McNamara says:

    Celtic will do what Celtic have always done in regard to cheating in Scottish football. SFA

  • Kevin Lee says:

    Don’t think so Desmond and his merry men don’t have the guts to challenge the sfa again A two match ban for Rodgers and they think that’s okay meanwhile collum still doesn’t referee a rangers game and what about the audio from the heart’s game they were told it’s gone missing just like the video from the motherwell game when VAR just happened to suffer gremlins bit of a coincidence where are the the arguments from the board on these issues they don’t give a toss about Celtic or us fans Desmond is only interested in golf and shamrock rovers

  • Pauline Wylie says:

    What matters is we have to win on Sunday bleating on about the ref and what happens after the game if we lose won’t matter because we won’t get the points back

  • Charles says:

    The Celtic board are laughable when it comes to flexing . Sevco complain about a referee and tells the Governing body we don’t want him near another Sevco game and they say “yes sir” Celtic do the same and they say “f*ck off”. Lawell says Its alright we have 75 million in the bank and you havent. Until this board stop thinking about all there bonuses they will say nothing. They sit behind there desks laughing at every celtic fan who complains about it. Doing nothing about corruption means you are complicit in it.

    • Kevan McKeown says:

      @ Charles. Agree wi that and it’s somethin that shouldnae be losin any attention from the Celtic support. The last sentence ah think nails it as well.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Oh I did something about it Charles by chucking back ma season book after Doncaster said they (‘Rangers’ – His words and certainly not mine) were the same club ABSOLUTELY…

      Oh hey – I miss the whole Matchday experience for certain – But do I regret my decision…

      Not in the slightest bit –

      And The Collum (Sevco order no more games with him and they get their demands) situation and The Beaton situation truly and absolutely vindictive my desicion to have thrown ma season ticket back at Lawwell !

  • Bob (original) says:

    The SFA is incompetent and corrupt.

    Our Board is pathetically weak and subservient.

    There are no indications that either will change for the better,

    or anytime soon.

    It doesn’t bode well in the long run for either our club, or Scottish football.

    Everybody – and especially youngsters today – have alternative, leisure options.

  • John Copeland says:

    As long as Celtic FC have a Warren of little soft , cute bunny rabbits as our board ,those who are in charge of the game in Scawlin shall continue to organise everything like a bowling club where the pals act and favouritism for one clumpany in particular is perennial ! Cucumber and lettuce sandwich anyone ?

  • tamdaly says:

    Why dont we show them our hand,take their bias to legal eagles and let them read and see the fuller picture of what they are actually trying to do to our club,and remember a big dog doesn’t like fighting a wee dog,( no disrespect to our pets),and let’s sit back and watch it unravel,JORGE CADETE IN A DRAWER ANYONE!!!!!!!

  • king murdy says:

    if james, as you claim, celtic fc have strength and influence…
    then i don’t know when would be the right time to exert…? than this season – given the enormous amount of money which will go the way of the SPFLL champions ?..

    IF we are as strong as you claim..then we seem ham strung…..????? could it indeed be the 5way agreement thingy..? if so..then surely, before we call for an enquiry and a root and branch clear out at hampden…first of all, we need to have the same at parkhead…?

    “a club like no other”… can say that again…!!

  • William Melvin says:

    There has to be a willingness to challenge these corrupt bastards at Hampdump.
    The problem the Celtic support have is we have another set of corrupt bastards running our club.
    If we lose this league to “honest mistakes” and they make only a token protest then l reckon they are going to need every single one of the mythical 15,000 season book waiting list to make up for those who have just about had enough of this corrupt cabal.
    Fuck the SFA !!!

    • Effarr says:

      It`s a mythical 15,000 right enough. The only problem is that these mythical characters
      might just have had enough too.

      • Sean says:

        In the end it’s all talk. There won’t be any action by those at the top table of our club. The reason I say this is that they’ve had numerous opportunities over the past twelve years and haven’t.
        We shouldn’t forget that the same chairman wanted the blue pound around.

  • Thomas Cochrane says:

    If,if,if but ,but, mibees aye mibeez naw, jist you wait, wan day ! Sick of the present attitude of the Board if we loose this league and they get the cash ???

  • Effarr says:

    Celtic let their chance go last Thursday. They should be fighting now to get the SFA rules changed to allow freedom of expression, providing, of course, that what is expressed is a provable truth. This so-called power that Celtic has is absolutely useless if they aren`t going to use it to their advantage: that is, in the same way as Fergus McCann. Power unused is power abused. As for the madman theory: it certainly works. I maintained at the time of the `detente` between Trump and Kim Jong Un that the wee N Korean knew he was dealing with as big a head-banger as himself. It works with all cowards. That is why a gaffer who loses the temper gets more work done than the nice guy or why a few expletives gets everyone to listen to you rather than the polite guy who would be treated as a “saft mark”. A typical example is the total and utter madman in Israel at the moment who has the whole world cowed and everyone takes his continuous lies without the pinch of salt, instead of going straight in and freeing those poor

  • Big Wolf says:

    I am at risk of being barred from this forum for continually flogging the same theme. ‘Conflict of Interest’ with regards to Referees.
    A little bit of research into ‘Conflict of Interest’ Policies for referees at the Bundesliga, FIFA, UEFA, the English FA, the Dutch FA and the SFA in Scotland reveals:

    When it comes to conflicts of interest in refereeing, it is essential to maintain impartiality. Referees should avoid situations where their private interests might interfere with their responsibilities. Here are some scenarios that could create conflicts of interest. If a referee has ongoing relationships with players, coaches, or club officials, it could potentially bias their decisions.

    A conflict of interest can be real, potential, or perceived. When it comes to conflicts of interest, facts, appearances, and perceptions matter.
    A perception of a conflict of interest can be just as harmful as an actual conflict. When you identify a conflict-of-interest situation, whether real, potential, or perceived, immediately inform your line manager and the FIFA Compliance Division.

    Match officials also undertake to inform UEFA without delay of any potential conflict of interests that they may have in respect of an appointment, including any connection that they may have or have had with a national association, league, or club.

    Dutch FA
    Referees should avoid situations where their personal interests could compromise their impartiality during matches.

    Scottish FA
    The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has guidelines in place to address conflicts of interest among referees and other football officials in the; Football Governance Handbook.

    The Football Governance Handbook by the Scottish FA covers various aspects related to Scottish football. It includes information about referees, anti-doping regulations, and other relevant topics1.

    However, specific details regarding referee conflicts of interest are not explicitly outlined in this handbook.

    Our club should be tackling them on this front, they appear to flaunt the rules, let others flaunt the rules, but expect Celtic comply.

    • James Forrest says:

      Nobody is gonna get banned here demanding reform my man. Everything y ou’ve said, I agree with.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    If we’re in as strong a position as you say James, why the hell are we allowing the SFA to swat us away so easily. What on earth is going on, Collum has been banned from their games for a few months on two separate occasions after complaints by the Ibrox board, we put in a complaint regarding the performance of Robertson and Beaton at Tynecastle on March 3rd and lo and behold they’re appointed to referee two key away games a few weeks later and our manager receives a suspension. Today we have BR playing the diplomat and actually praising Cheaton Beaton,
    There is every chance Beaton and his pals have done the damage already to our season and aye I know that there have been times we’ve underperformed, but the Referees on the pitch or on VAR have gifted the Ibrox mob at least 9 pts so far this season.
    The Celtic support, including myself have got to decide if we should continue to pay towards a rigged game and the Celtic Board have got to publicly stand up for this club, its p[ayers, supporters and shareholders.

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