Back in August Celtic were in the footballing Dog House after Boli Bolingoli took a trip to Spain and decided not to self-isolate.
Once the story came out in The Sun the club was under attack. Within a week two matches had been postponed by the SFA with the player hit with a charge that led to a suspension.
Covering the new regulations brought in by the SFA on the back of the Bolingoli incident and the Aberdeen eight, Glasgow Live reported:
In order to provide government health officials with the necessary confidence that Scottish football can return safely and in accordance with relevant government guidelines and football protocols, the Scottish FA has agreed that the return to training for clubs outwith the SPFL Premiership – which includes all organised adult football over-18 – will be delayed until at least 24 August, pending updated government guidance on the 20th.
This is to ensure that:
- All club facilities comply with the current JRG Protocols, social distancing and hygiene measures.
- All club policies and procedures comply with the current protocols and government guidance.
- Club testing regimes in the professional game comply with the protocols.
In November the club from Ibrox escaped any punishment when Jordan Jones and George Edmundson were caught at a house party. While a ‘Hollyrood source’ praised the club two days later the duo were charged by the SFA.
— The Scottish Sun (@ScottishSun) November 4, 2020
With those two precedents in place things looked bleak for Nathan Patterson and Calvin Bassey and friends when they were caught by Police Scotland attending a house in the early hours of February 14.
It looked like the five Ibrox Covidiots would be looking at similar seven match bans but for some reason the SFA held back from charging the players. On February 17 Steven Gerrard named the players involved, the following day James Tavernier hurt his leg in Belgium.
Now, incredibly, 19 days after they were given Fixed Penalties the SFA have still not taken any action against any players involved at Hayburn Crescent.
Within five days of Bolingoli’s offence two Celtic matches were postponed. Nineteen days later Patterson has scored one goal for the Ibrox club and played his part in two victories, helping his club to pick up six points.
Once upon a time Celtic would have been all over these double standards but it seems as if the club is permanently on mute when it comes to matters involving the SFA.
Steven McLean’s performance in the 2015 Scottish Cup Semi Final against Inverness Caley Thistle was barely challenged. A year later he was rewarded with the Scottish Cup Final, the template was set.
In December 2018 John Beaton allowed Alfredo Morelos to go unpunished for brutal attacks on Ryan Christie, Tony Ralston and Scott Brown. The Compliance Officer took no action, Celtic issued a statement and Beaton continued his path to the top of the tree. In 2020 he was rewarded with the Scottish Cup Final.
Less than two weeks ago Bobby Madden defied the Laws of the Land to try and referee the Ross County v Celtic match when he should have been self-isolating. Fortunately the intervention of The Sun saw his journey cut short as he returned home without blowing a whistle.
An SFA referee was prepared to put players at risk in order to pick up his match fee with one eye on a lucrative Europa League trip to Rome. On Saturday Madden is back in action at the Aberdeen v Hamilton match.
At Ibrox on Saturday Steven Gerrard will have Patterson, Bassey, Bongani Zungu and Brian Kinnear available for selection against St Mirren.
It could be argued that Celtic’s season never quite recovered from the shadow cast by the postponement of those August matches against St Mirren and Aberdeen. Strangely with the SFA and SPFL ignoring the five Ibrox Covidiots there hasn’t been any comment from Celtic over the clear double standards that they have been the victims of.