Celtic Diary Friday February 24: Read Between The Lines
Regular diary reader and contributor Brendan Rodgers ( I think I’ve spotted which one he is ) has taken the hint and launched an offensive against Scotlands piss poor referees.
“I think the players deserve a huge amount of credit. If there is a time these last couple of weeks to take your foot off the gas because of the number of points ahead we are then it could have been. But they haven’t shown any sign of that. The focus is very much on winning and we are never complacent.
“My only worry at this moment in time is the protection for my players. I’ve seen two tackles in the last two games that weren’t good tackles at all. We are a team that can play, with all due respect, any type of game. We’ve had physical games and we’ve came through them, we’ve had footballing games and we’ve came through them.
“My players never complain, they get up and get on with the game. That’s how I ask them to be. We respect referees. I would like them to have protection for our players.
“The tackle on Kieran Tierney, which I didn’t get the chance to see straight after the game last week, was a horrendous challenge. This is a kid who is coming through, 19 years of age and one of the great prospects of Scottish football.
“I have a boy who is a brilliant coach on my staff, John Kennedy, who was also a brilliant prospect and in one challenge lost his career. I don’t want that to happen to any of my players, or any player for that fact, whether he’s from Celtic, Rangers, Hearts or Hibs. We need to ensure the players are protected, and it’s the responsibility of the referees to protect the game and players.
“As I said, the challenge on Kieran Tierney was a horrendous challenge and the one in the game before against Inverness on Scott Sinclair was an awful challenge. If we are trying to have these best players in Scotland then they need a little bit of protection.
An undercover investigation by an Etims agent managed to get hold of an application form for the SFA’s refereeing course, and we discovered something that might shed light on the perceived bias against Celtic players…
There are two forms to fill in, in fact, and this is one of them..
Now, on this form, there is a box to fill in headed “Date Of Birth “, where the applicant enters the date he was born.
On the second form, which for legal reasons we cannot reproduce here, ( well, that and one other reason, in that we haven’t seen it ) this is abbreviated to
Those of the right mentality , the kind the SFA are looking for, simply write “Yes, I am ” in the box, and they are fast tracked to the highest level.
But Brendan cannot come out and say this directly, so he is merely asking for protection for his players.
We’ll have to see how it pans out, but if Emilio Izaguirre starts tomorrow, then get some money on him being booked, sent off and charged with affray.
“We are a team of men. We have young guys in the team but we are playing a man’s game. We have no problem with the aggression, no problem with that. Like I said, we coped with that. We’ve gone away to Aberdeen – a really tough physical game – and came through that. But it was a really good game, with strong and fair challenges.
“The concern for me is the ones that are late, like last week. If Kieran’s foot was planted you could be talking about another story for one of Scotland’s great talents.
“That’s the duty of the referee, to protect them and protect the game. You want competitive and aggressive games but they need to be within the law as well.”
As to whether his concerns are something that he will raise with the Head of Referees, the Celtic manager said: “It would be. I’ve seen enough challenges now for me to talk about it, for sure. My duty as a manager is to protect my players. I’ll have a look at it and see how it evolves of the next number of weeks.”
Thats from yesterdays press conference.
This is from the post match speech,
” We were concerned about referees , and the tackle on our player was the final straw for some of our lads. When the officials ignored it, one or two of ours took the law into their own hands, I just hope the referee is okay, and they can get his whistle back out safely. ”
I’m going to risk the pain and discomfort of the long trip tomorrow to see how this one pans out.
I say pain and discomfort not in a physical sense, but in a mental sense. It looks like being a long day tomorrow, a suspicion conformed by a comment in yesterdays replies..