Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Referee calamities make football a laughing stock

By Billy Weir

This season's William Hill Scottish Cup final is likely to have all the glitz and glamour of a wet weekend in Stranraer thanks to a referee, his less than eagle-eyed assistant and the intransigence of football's ruling godfathers to bring us kicking and screaming into the bright new world.

Okay, that may be a little harsh on Falkirk and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who will relish their moment in the spotlight, but it's easy to understand why those of a green hue from Glasgow have been left seeing red after Sunday's stupendous semi-final blunder.

Celtic, a goal to the good against the team from the Highlands, pushed for a second only to be denied by a wonder save by Josh Meekings. The only problem is that Mr Meekings is a defender.

Ronny Deila and his players were apoplectic that referee Steven McLean had failed to spot the handball and to make matters worse one of his right hand men, one of the nonsensical fifth/sixth officials that stand behind the goals, shuffling their feet like a shy girl waiting to be asked to dance at a ceilidh, missed Meekings' save too.

Yes, mistakes do happen, but were these spare assistants not supposed to reduce them, not make the game a laughing stock? Scotland's refs are sponsored by Specsavers. Fifa have no need to go there - what's the point if you're always in blinkers?

Belfast Telegraph

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