"I spoke to the fourth official"; It's clear the Livingston camp aren't happy after big Celtic loss

By David Walton

March 6, 2022

Livingston have clearly been left disappointed after being bossed by Celtic as David Martindale was left ruing refereeing decisions this afternoon.

Celtic came out convincing 3-1 winners against the Lions in a surprisingly comfortable afternoon at the Tony Macaroni Arena. Many had this one down as a potential Hoops slip-up. But in the end, we weren’t even close to collapsing as Livingston failed to produce a shock.

Granted, the day didn’t go down without controversy. Celtic’s first goal came from a corner that, in fairness, shouldn’t have been given. There are also question marks over whether Tom Rogic should’ve been called for handling the ball in the build-up to the second.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

And that took the primary focus for Martindale post-match as he was interviewed by Sky Sports [Sky Sports Football, 06/03, 2:22pm]: “I think for the first 2 goals if I’m honest it was big refereeing decisions that went against us. In saying that, it makes the game a lot harder for us but I thought that Celtic were clinical today. I thought it was a top top performance on and off the ball. I thought they were fantastic in their transitions on and off the ball. It’s probably the Celtic we’re more accustomed to watching. So I thought albeit they were very good but I think the first 2 goals gives us a massive mountain to climb and there are 2 refereeing decisions there that are disappointing from my point of view.

“I spoke to the fourth official and the linesman who had told Nick [Devlin] that it wasn’t a corner, it was a bykick. So we expect a by-kick then. On the second goal the ball is actually out with Greg Taylor on the left-hand side but Tom Rogic handles it in the middle of the park. He actually catches the ball nearly. There are maybe 2 handballs in there and wee Holty stops and he doesn’t give us the foul.

“It’s bounced off Tam and he’s put it out to the right-hand side and that’s where the cross has come in. I think it’s quite an easy decision to make, the ref’s there but we don’t get that one so I think you need a wee bit of fortune and luck to go on your side. You need the refereeing decisions to go in your favour as well and I don’t think we got them on the first two goals.”

The lessons Celtic must learn as season defining match arrives | Livingston vs Celtic Preview

The lessons Celtic must learn as season defining match arrives | Livingston vs Celtic Preview
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Celtic get their rewards – much work to be done after refereeing decisions

You can question the legitimacy of both goals given the build-up play that preceded them. However, you can’t just forget how much work needed to be done after the moments of controversy.

For example, the first refereeing mistake only led to a Celtic corner. It’s not as if we’ve had much joy from set-pieces in recent games against Livingston. There was plenty more to do after that in order for the ball to end up in the back of the Livingston net.

As for the second goal, Martindale needs to remember that it was his own man who bundled the ball into the goal. Again, Livingston just don’t deal with the cross. You can whine and complain about refereeing decisions all you want, but when the goals come directly from poor defending, it kind of leaves you up against a wall.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It’s about time we got a bit of luck in fairness. We’ve had plenty of decisions go against us in recent weeks that just doesn’t get the same media attention as ones that go for us. That’s the real disappointment. No doubt this one will be the same.

It will undoubtedly be highlighted to extreme lengths on Sportscenes and there will likely be endless debates on Clyde 1 Superscoreboard during the week too. That’s the environment we’re operating in.

But let’s not pretend it was refereeing decisions that led to us picking up a major 3 points today. This was fully deserved. In fairness, Martindale is still willing to acknowledge that.

In other news, Watch: Class celebration scenes emerge as Celtic supporters take over Tony Macaroni Arena