Livingston captain Marvin Bartley reckons Celtic star Callum McGregor should have received a final warning against Rangers yesterday, rather than a second yellow card.
McGregor was given his marching orders for a challenge made on Glen Kamara in the build-up to Rangers’ opening goal.
After the match, both John Kennedy and Scott Brown disagreed with the decision to dish out the red.
Now they’ve been backed up by another senior player with knowledge of the game in Scotland, and of referee Nick Walsh.
Marvin Bartley told The Go Radio Football Show tonight: “I’m a man who has put a few tackles in in my time. I think sometimes in a derby the referee has to realise the magnitude of the game.
“I’m not saying it has to change the rules but I definitely believe for the second one he could have just said to him, ‘listen, that’s your final one’. But by the letter of the law maybe the referee has got it right. I just think in a derby game you should maybe get away with one.
“You don’t want to endanger players either but I don’t think Kamara’s in any danger. Yes it was a late tackle, Rangers went on to score and I think that was enough of a punishment if I’m being totally honest.
“I think the referee could have said, ‘that’s your last one’ and that’s it.”
Was Walsh a bit quick with his cards yesterday? I would argue yes. Do I have any real complaints about McGregor’s red? Not particularly.
I was more concerned about the headrush that saw McGregor commit to the lunge in the first place. It was a silly challenge after receiving a yellow card shortly before.
It’s not the kind of excuse you give a Scottish referee on the big occasion.
Bartley’s perspective as a neutral is interesting though and does back up the post-match complaints of Celtic with regards to the red.
Don’t get me wrong, Celtic were far from good enough, but it was a defining moment in the game and one that went against us.