Peter Lawwell has been handed a lesson in leadership by Stewart Robertson.
The Ibrox chief has barely raised a murmur since being appointed by Dave King in 2015 but hit all the right notes with a detailed and constructive criticism of Scottish referees following the Glasgow derby. Criticising refereeing decisions after a victory is always the strongest position.
Last season Scott McKenna, Steven McLean, Dolly Menga, Ryan Kent and Darnell Johnson were all given retrospective red cards from matches against Celtic.
Rather than playing against 10 men the hoops faced teams with their full compliment of players while SPFL opponents faced weakened teams in subsequent matches.
Lawwell didn’t say a word about the issue.
After John Beaton’s concerning display in the December 2018 Glasgow derby at Ibrox Celtic issued a statement demanding an explanation and transparency. Eleven months later Lawwell told Celtic’s AGM that the issue had been resolved in private months ago.
Yesterday Robertson told his club website:
In this month (December) alone, Rangers has suffered from three glaring errors in key matches. On December 4 at Pittodrie the referee failed to see Alfredo Morelos had been fouled inside the box and awarded a free kick outside the penalty area. The referee apologised to Steven Gerrard after the match but the damage had been done and Rangers had to settle for a 2-2 draw and the loss of two points.
Then, just four days later at Hampden, Rangers lost the Betfred Cup final when the officials failed to see that not just one, but three players were clearly offside when the only goal of the final was scored.
On Sunday, during the final game before the January break, the referee and his assistants awarded a goal even though the ball had been deflected into Allan McGregor’s net off a hand of an opposing player. That goal should never have stood and would undoubtedly have been overturned had VAR been in use.
A number of other incidents, including the clear foul by Julien on Alfredo Morelos as he attempted to break clear, were also missed. Instead, and inexplicably, a foul was given against Alfredo. There can be little doubt Alfredo is singled out for special attention, on and off the field of play. Indeed, some of the things said and written about him leave a lot to be desired and do nothing to suggest Scottish football is the most welcoming of environments.
For a long time the myth has been put about that Lawwell runs Scottish football with Stewart Milne and BBC Scotland repeating the claim earlier this month.
Have you been happy with Peter Lawwell's performance as CEO in 2019
Yes, he is worth every penny. We are lucky to have Peter at the helm
No, the club is ignored on key issues, we barely hear from him
The truth is somewhat different with the SFA refusing to give a ruling on Celtic’s request for a review of the 2011 UEFA licencing issue which some shareholders claim incorrectly denied the hoops the opportunity to play in Champions League qualifiers.
Celtic made the request in September 2017, in June 2019 SFA chief Ian Maxwell told the Daily Record: “We’ll come back on that in due course. I wouldn’t want to put a timescale on it but I don’t think we would let it go for ever.”
At the Celtic AGM in November Lawwell refused to take the evidence to UEFA or the City of London Police.