Ref excuse is rubbish, says Celtic legend McGarvey
Celtic legend Frank McGarvey believes the Parkhead club’s concerns over referees is a “load of rubbish.”
A row broke out between the Scottish Football Association and Celtic on Wednesday night after an unnamed Parkhead source revealed the club were frustrated with major decisions that they believe had gone against them this season — including in the last two matches against Rangers, whom they face again at Ibrox on Sunday.
Celtic also expressed concerns about offside decisions given against recent loan signing Robbie Keane.
In a stinging response, SFA president George Peat questioned the courage of the unknown Celtic source, but the pressure on Sunday's Old Firm referee Dougie McDonald is set to intensify.
McGarvey, who played for his boyhood heroes between 1980 and 1985, is not impressed either with the focus being shifted on to the match officials as Celtic try to reduce the seven-point gap Rangers enjoy over them at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
“It is a load of rubbish,” he blasted.
“It’s not referees to blame for Celtic being in the position they are in and most Celtic fans know that.
“The team has lost too many goals this season and needs to improve on that.
“So you cannot blame referees. It is a feeble excuse.
“In my day we never allowed decisions to stop us winning the league.
“Some went against you and some went for you and they evened themselves out over the course of the season.
“I know a few decisions have gone against Celtic in the last couple of Old Firm games, but you have to be man enough to take it on the chin.
“The best thing Celtic can do is outplay Rangers and score more goals than them.
“It’s as simple as that and most Celtic fans know it.”
McGarvey is not the only former Celtic player to play down the impact referees have had on the Hoops’ season.
Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld, who played under legendary boss Jock Stein when Celtic won the European Cup in 1967, has echoed McGarvey in stating that their former club should concentrate on scoring more goals than Rangers rather than concerning themselves with officials.
“I don't see how you can complain about referees,” he said.
“Stein had an easy way of dealing with it. He would tell us that referees are only human and will make mistakes and we would have to live with it.
“But he would also say that if the other team scored four and we scored five then there was nothing the referees could do about it.
“It's all about scoring more goals than the other team.
“That is the message so Celtic need to get on with it.”