Andy Halliday laughably defends tackle on Celtic captain with "no malice" remark

By David Walton

August 4, 2021

Hearts midfielder Andy Halliday has laughably attempted to defend his horrific challenge on Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor on Saturday night.

The Hoops came up short in a dismal 2-1 defeat to the Jambos on opening-day. Celtic fans have been quick to acknowledge that Ange Postecoglou’s side simply weren’t good enough. However, unsurprisingly, Hearts benefited from some poor officiating throughout.

Liel Abada scored a perfectly good goal that would’ve put Celtic 2-1 ahead, only to be flagged for offside. However, perhaps the most controversial moment came in the second half when Halliday lunged at McGregor and caught him with his studs. You can see the footage for yourself below:

It’s clear from the clip above that Halliday is never going to get the ball. His studs are showing and he catches the Celtic captain’s heel.

Bobby Madden, a regular with Halliday on the Open Goal show, refused to even book the Hearts man. And speaking on Open Goal this week, Halliday produced a laughable defence of the challenge:

“I’ve heard the rumours flying about. It sums up some of the mentalists these days. That’s not a red card.

Scott McDonald joins 67HH for the Ange Postecoglou era

Scott McDonald joins 67HH for the Ange Postecoglou era

“It’s a yellow card 100 per cent but it’s not a red card. There was no malice or intent in it whatsoever.

“Genuinely, there was no malice or intent. It was a poor tackle and it deserved a booking.”

Andy Halliday challenge was reckless; Hearts should’ve been down to 10 vs Celtic

No intent apparently. Sure Andy no problem. It’s not as if you had absolutely no chance of getting the ball and just lunged in recklessly.

Anyone can see from the footage above that it’s clearly malicious. There is no purpose to the challenge outside of laying one on McGregor and stopping a Celtic attack.

What’s even more frustrating is that this happened right under the nose of referee Madden. It’s not as if the official was left with no real clear sight of the incident. It should’ve resulted in a red for the Hearts man, but that it received nothing was even more baffling.

We’ve seen sendings off for less in Scotland and in Europe. Halliday can count himself lucky to have stayed on the pitch.

From a Celtic perspective, this wasn’t the reason we lost the game. Same goes for the offside goal netted by Abada. These weren’t clear reasons for our demise on the night. We have defensive frailties and profligacy in the final third to thank for that.

But these flashpoints can’t be missed so regularly again this season. Halliday should’ve walked, yet it says a lot about the refereeing standard in Scotland that nobody was surprised he didn’t.

In other news, Reported Celtic target Yan Couto receiving plenty of pre-season opportunities at Manchester City