Scottish Refereeing: The Battle For Hearts And Minds (And Compensation)


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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12 Responses

  1. Pat says:

    Obviously, seeing that the Scottish footballing minds blame Celtic football club for the events of the last 7 weeks it seems to me that if Celtic were to sign a contract agreeing to never again question or criticize any Scottish officials all the problems would disappear, am I right?

  2. jasbhoy says:

    I don’t know how much digging this author did, or whether he has just taken the Scottish media spin to be true, but the fact of the matter is that for years Celtic along with most clubs in Scotland have been on the wrong end of strange decisions from the refs which for the most part profited one side, namely Rangers, it has been a problem for many many years but since Rangers financial trouble has come into view the amount of decisions going their way has been unbelievable, and the thinking from most fans of all other clubs is that Rangers are being helped to this end and not very subtly I may add.

  3. david says:

    But why would Celtic sign such a ludicrous agreement. Waving their right to a voice? It would never happen. No club anywhere would sign such an agreement, much less one that has been quite clearly been victim of a pro rangers bias in the scottish game.

  4. Daniel Docherty says:

    Why not make everyone happy SFA Clearout
    makes all but one SPL club happy

    Kick Celtic out of the SFA and all of the other clubs the SFA and referees will be happy sfa can broker a deal with EPL and we will be happy as we can leave the septic tank where the victin is blamed for the crime

  5. Gavin says:

    There were a couple of unspoken assumptions in the article, and perhaps I should have made at least one of them explicit – I regard the accusations of a pro-Rangers / anti-Celtic bias as being entirely baseless, at least in recent times. Not because of “media spin” but just my own watchings of Scottish football over the years. “Most fans of other clubs”, in my experience, regard Celtic and Rangers as being, equally, the major beneficiaries of dubious reffing in the country (and I think that has a little bit more to it, though the effect is hugely overstated, and not deliberate).

    david – I’m not sure Pat’s was a serious suggestion, but just in case it was: as I said in the article, limiting the problem to Celtic misses the point. As the refs know, the issue is much broader than the current spat.

  6. Peter White says:

    All these problems just because Celtic FC and their supporters want a level playing field! Not special treatment, just a level playing field, and as an aside honest referees, which translates into referees who do not tell lies!

  7. Albert Kidd says:

    ‘Equal beneficiaries of dubious reffing’
    Are you being serious?
    Celtic will get an ‘honest mistake’ throw in on the half way line, a free kick 46 yards out or a corner when we are already 3 up. You could count anything in our favour on one hand. I don’t even know where to start when it comes to ‘honest mistakes’ in Rangers favour.
    Lazy journalism made up from bits and pieces taken from red top chip wrappers will just about sum up this piece.

  8. jocky bhoy says:

    Well at least you are admitting MacDonald’s position was untenable but I, and most Celtic fans, agree that Hugh Dallas’ position – given he also knowingly lied and, at the very least, rubber stamped a falsified match report – was equally so.

    Most Celtic fans think he should have been sacked for those offences – the fact that these sectarian email(s) have obscured the issue of lying and conspiracy (and make no mistake – Dallas & MacDonald CONSPIRED to lie & give false evidence) is to the detriment of the core discussion.

    There is talk in the blogoshpere up to 20 doctored match reports, ie. reports that have been changed between the match ending and subsequent filing. If these reports are true (remember the blogoshere broke the stories of lying and sectarian emails – they are well ahead of the Scotish press, as the Media Guardian reports on Monday) what action should be taken. Should this be “the line in the sand”?

    The English refs are employees of their football associaiton (or the EPL?), whereas out referees are self employed, and apparently unaccountable. Would them being employees help the matter?

    The referees threatened strike action 2 years ago and managed to get a 50%-plus pay rise, at a time when fans and managers of all teams were saying standards were getting worse. The SFA caved that time, under the ill-fated reign of Gordon Smith, ex-rangers player and TV pundit turned Chief Exec much to everyone’s surprise (including his own apparently!). Their demand was unattainable – “we’d like more respect”. How can that possibly be achieved without being “mutual”. Who gave them advice on this strike action?

    Lennon is up before the beak – Lenny keen to give his side of the story. As I am sure is Hooper, a man who knows a thing about Scottish refereeing standards:
    Scunthorpe Games 89; Yellow Cards 2
    Celtic Games 10; Yellow Cards 3 ( all in the last 4 games, after he said Dougie Dougie should go).

    Will be interested to see what action is taken – seems there’s a hell of a distance to that line of sand…

  9. Gavin says:

    Albert – Perfectly serious.

    jockybhoy – yeah, I didn’t want to go through the rights and wrongs of the Steven Craven thing again. I’m a bit in two minds about it. I can see why, given the atmosphere in which they operate, they don’t want to invite abuse by highlighting their own fuck-ups, but clearly – whether it’s happened once or another twenty or another two thousand times – any such “white lies” or cover-ups shouldn’t happen. I agree that if the SFA had a problem with that they should have acted on that, rather than sack him for something else that no one seems to take very seriously in isolation.

    Where I disagree with Celtic fans is in the suggestion that any such after-the-fact dishonesty provides any sort of support for their allegations of on-pitch dishonesty, still less bias for or against particular clubs.

    But yes I do support reform, greater openness and accountability – not because I think there’s any problem with bias, but because there’s no reason not to. There should be nothing to hide and no reason to give anyone cause for suspicion.

  10. Ian Ferguson says:

    I took part in a fun sport quiz on holiday. One part of it was to decide the outcome of ref’s decisions. Included as ludicrous decisions were various old firm decisions. ALL WENT AGAINST CELTIC. I have never been a supporter of the bias theory until then.
    I have since looked at various decisions on facebook etc. and the bias is there to see. I can’t see how Gavin can say he can see no bias when a ref lets bugghy off with SEVEN OTHER bookable offences in ONE game AFTER being booked. The Brown sending off in the same game was ludicrous, although I admit he is like a heidless hen, but how that was a sending off baffles me. By the time I had seen Maloney’s booking for diving I was convinced, Scottish ref’s are biased or so unsuited to referee they should be sacked. It would follow that the various SFA Office holders who continue to cover up for them are not fit for purpose and need to be replaced. The SFA requires a root and branch clearout and a complete modernisation. Since I have admitted to achange of heart the quiz-master e-mailed me an article on James Farry and celtic THE MIND BOGGLES!

  11. Gavin says:

    Well of course you can find a series of bad refereeing decisions that all went against Celtic, you can do the same for any club if you’re looking for them – what does that prove?

  12. Teddybear says:

    If you look hard enough you will find decisions that go against the club you hold dear. Infact go watch your fav team and you can gurantee you will be screaming for a free kick/Penalty, because of this everyones views will always be biased…Last months 2-1 Victory over celtic i found 12 Decisions that Rangers should have got and found 3-4 celtic decisions. Peoples Views are blinded by thier emotions. Live with it(y)

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