In the past, I have written about decisions that have gone against Celtic in various football games in Scotland and I’m usually told that these things even themselves out.
In the last few years, I remember Adam Matthews, I think v Dundee Utd being given a penalty against him. He clearly won the ball by a slide tackle yet the referee gave a penalty kick.
In another match, Victor Wanyama, in the centre circle, fouled a player. He missed the ball and caught the player on the foot. It was a free kick and if it was his second or third foul, you’d expect a yellow card. The referee sent Wanyama off.
Move forward to Sunday. This was the first time that I have ever been to a Celtic v Sevco match. I had been to plenty of games v Rangers but for the previous Sevco games, I’ve been away on holiday.
I was curious to see what the difference was between Rangers and Sevco. I didn’t expect there to be much difference. And there wasn’t. There was the large number of “loyal” flags and banners. Their song book was the same – apparently, they are up to their knees in my blood ! ! ! ! !
It’s been described as same flies, different turd, when it comes to Rangers, Sevco and their fans.
The one thing that I was surprised about was the reaction of their fans to a 1-1 draw. Their celebration was far more than what they had actually achieved. In the eyes of a lot of their support, they are the best team in Scotland. Their new manager said that they have the best squad in the country. So why is a 1-1 draw such a great thing?
Online, their fans are often talking about how poor a team Celtic are and that our players aren’t very good.
From a Celtic point of view, I think we were poor but it’s hardly surprising when you consider that had the “normal” or “correct” rules of football been in place, we’d have finished the game v nine men and we’d have had two penalty kicks.
That said, we should be able to beat 11 Sevco players but when you consider all that went against us, maybe a 1-1 draw isn’t all that bad.
There was the lunge by Kenny Miller on Stuart Armstrong to start with. In recent games, we’ve had a collection of horrendous challenges on our players. Sinclair v Inverness. Tierney v Motherwell. Challenge on James Forrest to name but a few.
Some trying to defend these challenges are saying that it’s because our players are quicker than the rest of the SPFL and are more likely to be fouled. If that’s the case, the referee has to punish the fouls.
In the Sevco game, Patrick Roberts was on the end of a terrible challenge which was easily a red card. At the time, a few of us were saying that we’d expect a Celtic player to be red carded for the same challenge. Yet that went unpunished, I’d like to know if the SFA compliance officer will take action on it.
In the second half on the game, Dembele was fouled inside the penalty box. While it was near the edge of the box, he was running away from goal, he was still fouled and it was a penalty. Like the above example, I’d expect a Celtic player to be given a penalty against him for the same challenge.
There was of course the penalty incident when Clint Hill went through Leigh Griffiths to get to the ball. Regardless of whether or not Hill got to the ball, he went through the player first so it’s a foul and a penalty.
At the start of this, I mentioned some of the decisions that have gone against Celtic. The examples that I gave with Matthews and Wanyama were games in which the referee was Bobby Madden. The same referee who has given the decisions against us v Sevco at the weekend.
When will they even out ? Are they even honest mistakes ? Not in my opinion, I believe that Madden is intentionally cheating against Celtic, there’s no point in saying that he’s just a bad ref. If he was just a bad ref, we’d benefit from some incorrect decisions too.
That is six big game changing decisions in three games that I have been able to give from Madden v us. What will the club do about it? Will they ask that he never referees any of our games again? I have tweeted Celtic to ask but there’s been no response.
To sum up my first match v Sevco, I haven’t really noticed a big difference apart from the fact that Rangers expected to win things whereas Sevco appear to have the mentality of a small club in the fact that a 1-1 draw is cause for a party.
Given that they are a new club and have never played in the SPFL, I suppose a referee assisted, 1-1 draw against the Champions is a big achievement.