When Celtic interim boss John Kennedy blasted the SFA yesterday, it was about an issue affecting him and his team.
In his passionate comments, Kennedy said that there are glaring inconsistencies over Covid disciplinary action. The main examples being, of course, the Boli Bolingoli incident, and Aberdeen’s 8 players who were caught at Soul Bar.
Given that 5 Rangers players who broke the rules have been cleared to play Celtic twice, it’s not mystery as to why Kennedy is annoyed. He said [Daily Record]:
“I don’t understand why there’s such a delay. Players played against us who probably should have been banned.
“It’s something I think should have been dealt with a hell of a lot quicker to remain consistent with all the other decisions that have happened. The SFA probably need to address this themselves and give a bit more clarity to everyone in terms of the hold-up and why it has taken so long.”
So far, so straightforward. Players should be banned, aren’t (due to an appeal), playing us twice. Simple, simple stuff. Couldn’t be more obvious as to why John Kennedy has an issue. That is, unless, you’re Rangers legend Ally McCoist.
McCoist, arguing with Chris Sutton on BT Sport’s Scottish Football Extra, has claimed that Kennedy should mind his own business. Inferring, then, that matches in which he manages Celtic are none of his concern.
McCoist said [BT]:
“With the greatest of respect to John, it’s not John’s business really.
“I mean did you hear Steven Gerrard getting involved in Bolingoli’s antics when he was flying all over western Europe? I mean Steven never got involved in that, what’s that all about?
“Concern yourself with your own affairs and things that can affect you, and things that you can control.”
Two very important factors here, as Ally McCoist misses the point Celtic are making
While he didn’t directly address the Bolingoli situation in so many words, Steven Gerrard did have a response. When asked about what Rangers would do, at the time of Bolingoli-gate, he said [Glasgow Live]:
“We will remind everyone of our responsibilities. Up to now, everyone has done great here at Rangers and the medical department has been first class.”
If you want to claim that as “getting involved”, you’ve every right to do so.
But more importantly than tit-for-tat he-said-this-he-said-that stuff, it’s wrong to suggest that Celtic shouldn’t be annoyed here. It’s not about the quality of players (find one Celtic fan worried about Nathan Patterson or Calvin Bassey). It’s more that there are players who should be suspended who will play against us.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Rangers. And we’re sure that if it was the other way round, our rivals would speak out. Honestly, they’d be entitled to do so.
It’s just a glaring lack of consistency from the SFA. They’re letting their appeals system become ripe for abuse, and Rangers have completely taken advantage. An appeal hearing is set for April 20th, but Celtic face their rivals twice before that date. It’s laughable.
This will inevitably rumble on for ages yet. Expect more hot takes from our ever-insightful commentariat.