With McGregor being let off, is it okay to start kicking Celtic players?

By David Walton

September 5, 2018

After Allan McGregor got his case thrown out, is it now okay to start kicking Celtic players?

The Rangers goalkeeper was highly-criticised for swiping at Kristoffer Ajer in Sunday’s 1-0 Glasgow Derby win at Celtic Park. The goalkeeper clearly swiped at Ajer, and the referee missed it. If he had seen it, surely it was a sending off.

After all, even Rangers manager Steven Gerrard confirmed after the game that it was a sending off.

That the opposition manager can see it’s a red card but the SFA don’t is simply incredible. A three-person panel deemed there not to be excessive force in the challenge, and let McGregor off.

Dangerous precedent

Therefore, in order for it to be a red card, it seems you actually have to stamp on a player with authority. Kyle Lafferty and Ryan Jack also got away with naughty challenges throughout the contest.

Ajer was kicked out at by McGregor in the Glasgow Derby on Sunday (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

This isn’t the first time that behaviour such as this has been allowed against Celtic.

In the 1-0 defeat to Hearts back in August, Steven Naismith took a nasty stamp on Scott Brown. He knew what he was doing and he connected with full force, yet somehow it wasn’t a red card.

The panel failed to review that one, even though Naismith should’ve been charged and given a lengthy ban for dangerous play.

The Hampden Park heads have set a dangerous precedent (Getty Images)

Instead, a dangerous precedent is being set by the SFA and their Compliance Officer Claire Whyte. Opposition players are now clearly allowed to lash out, especially if it’s against Celtic.

If McGregor was simply trying to untangle his feet from Ajer’s, then fair enough. But it’s clearly visible that the Rangers number one takes a clear shot at him. That’s violent conduct and it’s a red card. Not if you’re in the SFA apparently.

Morelos Madness

Alfredo Morelos also got off with something similar on day one of the new season. The Colombian, yet to score against Celtic, was sent off at Aberdeen in the first half for swiping at Scott McKenna. The panel reviewed it and overturned the decision despite a clear flick of the leg from Morelos.

The SFA are showing consistently, but only by being consistently wrong. Kicking out has always been and always should be a red card offence.

If the SFA and the Compliance Officer can’t see that, then we’re in for dangerous times in Scottish football.