One of the basic tasks for a football referee is to ensure the safety of players.
Applying most rules should be fairly straightforward, offside and penalty calls might be marginal but no one is likely to be physically damaged by the theatrics of Graeme Shinnie.
Fouling however is a different matter, it is much more black and white. When a player makes contact with an opponent the referee judges the severity of it and punishes accordingly. It can be a free kick, yellow card or red card.
— Garybhoy (@garydoyler) December 26, 2018
Niall McGinn hasn’t got a reputation for dirty play, he’s received more than a few brutal tackles himself but yesterday he should have been sent off. Whether he slipped, lost his balance or whatever he carried out a very dangerous foul on Ryan Christie.
Fortunately Christie’s leg wasn’t planted on the ground, fortunately his shin guards did their job. The Celtic player could easily have suffered a leg fracture with Collum perfectly positioned to view the attack. Just like Bobby Madden at Tynecastle when Steven Naismith went over the ball on Scott Brown and James Forrest.
Collum decided that a free kick and booking was sufficient punishment. That decision provided a marker for other players to put the boot in knowing that they would have stayed on the park.
His decision changed the game. If McGinn had been sent off Celtic’s second half possession would have worn out 10 man Aberdeen much earlier.
Collum’s decision making yesterday was woeful but with a place on the FIFA list he will continue to get the top fixtures from the SFA. On Saturday he will be picking up another match fee from the Kilmarnock v St Mirren match.