Sunday, February 24, 2008

More Fun With Donald McVicar

In the early days of this blog I had an entertaining correspondence with Donald McVicar, SFA referee-in-chief.

The basis of the correspondence being that referee Stuart Dougal had inadvertently confessed on the SFA Whistleblower website to wrongly awarding a penalty against Celtic during a game against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, when the actual aim of the article was to justify the decision.

Here's another interesting example from the same site.

Last season - Celtic player Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink scores a late winner against Inverness Caledonian Thistle (them again!), celebrates with crowd, and is booked by referee Iain Brines - which is effectively a red card as it is his second booking of the game.

Utterly and indisputably correctly, according to both Mr Brines and Mr McVicar.

Not the unerring certainty of the words. The complete lack of any scope for interpretation of this rule...

Iain Brines: "I had no option to show the card....instructions over the past three seasons have been perfectly clear. The player ran off the pitch and over the track to the terracing boundary where he was surrounded by spectators..."

Donald McVicar: "Clubs, managers, players and all those closely involved in the game are aware that spectators should not be encouraged to run down to the perimeter wall or fence. This is a proactive measure to reduce the risk of injury to fans who might fall or be trampled in the rush.

If anone[sic] is in any doubt about the serious[sic] of the instructions they need only contact any of the Police Match Commanders at games or the club Safety Officers, all of whom have clear views on the need to be preventative. It is most unfair for those in the media to brand referees as killjoys in such situations. They are only carrying out instructions."

No scope for interpretation. It must be a booking. Fair enough them; no complaints.

But wait, what's this I see...

Celebrating? Or Escaping?Or
Hmmm, looks to me like wantaway Rangers striker Daniel Cousin celebrating with the crowd after scoring today against Gretna. Either that, or he spotted a tunnel in the Broomloan Road Stand that he hoped led to Fulham.

No matter, a booking no doubt. After all, as Mr McVicar says that is what referees are instructed to do. Mr Brines ASSURED us there was 'no option'.

Except, of course, there was no booking.

It seems today's referee - Calum Murray - doesn't know how to follow instructions.

Will we see an apology on The Whistleblower? Don't count on it.

Will we see Mr McVicar accept the decision was wrong? I doubt it.

Will we see more examples of dodgy decisions over the remainder of what looks sure to be a tight run in? You betcha!

If there's one thing about 'The Establishment' it knows how to close ranks in an hour-of-need.

Look for more invisible hand balls, mysterious offsides, debatable penalties, and more subtle influencing - such as the amazing Aiden McGeady booking count - as The Establishment attempts to fend off three-in-a-row for Celtic.

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