Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Celtic attempt to exert pressure on match officials

Celtic are considering expressing formal concerns about referee standards to the Scottish Football Association ahead of Sunday's Old Firm derby.

A club source has told BBC Scotland of their frustration about major decisions after analysing footage - including the last two games against Rangers.

But SFA president George Peat has rejected the claims as "inaccurate".

He found it "disappointing" that the source would try to "exert additional pressure on match officials".

Sunday's game will be refereed by Dougie McDonald, whose last Old Firm match was last season's Co-operative Insurance Cup final, which Celtic won 2-0 after extra-time.

Celtic are seven points behind reigning Scottish Premier League champions Rangers, who have a game in hand, ahead of the match at Ibrox.

The sides drew their last meeting, on 3 January, with Celtic believing that Marc-Antoine Fortune was denied a goal in the 1-1 draw.
Referee Steve Conroy ruled that the striker had fouled Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor. [VIDEO OF FOUL]

Rangers won the last Ibrox encounter 2-1 in October, when Celtic had several claims for penalties denied by Craig Thomson.

"We are considering contacting the SFA to highlight our concerns at some of the major decisions we feel have gone against us this season," said the Celtic source.

"The refereeing performances are a concern and a frustration to us."

Celtic also have concerns about offside decisions given against Robbie Keane, their recent loan signing from Tottenham Hotspur.
"It seems that officials are struggling to keep up with his pace," said the source.

"Several key off-side decisions have gone against him purely because of his speed."
Hugh Dallas, the SFA's head of refereeing development, this month himself expressed concerns about the standard of decision-making, suggesting that it had been a disappointing season for Scottish officials.

Celtic and SFA officials have met to discuss the Glasgow club's concerns, but the leak from the club has angered Peat.
"We find it disappointing and somewhat bizarre that, in the build-up to an Old Firm derby, an unnamed Celtic 'source' would seek to exert additional pressure on match officials by issuing ill-timed and fundamentally inaccurate comments," said the SFA president.

"The validity of these comments is questionable in any case, since the 'source' is not courageous enough to put his name to them.

"In actual fact, discussions between the Scottish FA and Celtic have taken place, but the contents of these discussions will remain private, as was agreed with the club.

"I am sure the Celtic chief executive, Peter Lawwell, will be concerned by the fact that someone has elected to speak on behalf of his club, seemingly without consent, and therefore undermined his authority."


Scottish Daily Express Friday 26 / 2/ 2010

Charlie Nicholas last night branded Celtic's sneaky ref attack a "cheap shot" and a desperate attempt to cover up the real problems at Parkhead. Nicholas was stunned when news was leaked from a Celtic "source" of an official move to complain about a string of cock-ups involving the Parkhead club this season.

Nicholas reckons the timing of the story -72 hours before an Old Firm game- is a sign of weakness from his old club and designed only to pander to paranoid fans. He said : " This latest episode goes beyond paranoia. I'm really disappointed. This smacks of a desperate act to pander to the fans who believe Celtic are always the victims. Its the actions of a club that is insecure and lacks belief. To flag up concerns about refs at this time indicates a weakness to me. Its scraping the bottom of the barrel ".



Between 1890 and 2002

Red cards for Celtic 575, for Rangers 622
Yellow cards for Celtic 1522, for Rangers 1777
Penalties for Celtic 1027, for Rangers 896
Penalties against Celtic 328, against Rangers 459

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