Celtic defender Taylor shouldn't be the scapegoat in refereeing debate

By Euan Davidson

February 13, 2021

Celtic star Greg Taylor is still getting flak after winning a penalty on Wednesday.

St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin is still very angry, and he wants you to know about it. The former Celtic player continued his campaign against the ex-Killie defender, who went down in the box. Edouard dispatched the subsequent spot kick, before two more goals from Christie and Turnbull removed any doubt.

Goodwin has offered to sacrifice his child in order to make a point about the SFA and referees.

Well, fine: not quite. But his incendiary comments are a headline writer’s gift [Daily Record]:

“There has to be an element of personal pride, you don’t want to see yourself diving about as someone touched your shoulder.

“Ryan Flynn touched Greg Taylor’s shoulder. If I did it to my seven-year-old son he wouldn’t move, but Taylor’s legs went from underneath him.

“I am asking the referees to be stronger and the compliance officer to dish out necessary punishments.

“Until we do that and get hard on these people they will continue to do it as there are no consequences.

“The game is becoming a non-contact sport and we’re going to end up like basketball* in 10 years with everyone terrified to make a tackle.”

Edouard scores from 12 yards after controversial penalty call / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But… there was contact on Celtic man Taylor

Admittedly, it might’ve been a wee bit soft. Facts being facts though, Flynn made contact that was enough to bundle Taylor over in the box. Anywhere on the pitch, it’s probably a foul.

To be honest, it’s a pretty minor entry in the catalogue of debatable fouls in the Scottish Premiership this season. And to see Steven Gerrard piping up, asking for better standards, is irony beyond belief.

If VAR was in place, Morelos wouldn’t have been on the pitch to win the Gers 3 points against Hibs [BBC]. Against St Johnstone, Kemar Roofe would certainly have been sent off [Glasgow Live]. If we had the same refereeing technology as “bigger” leagues, then Gerrard would be complaining about that. Those are just two examples from several incidents this year alone.

To be clear, Rangers would’ve been well ahead of us in the league anyway. Blaming referees, the SFA or anyone not employed by Celtic for the Bhoys’ form this season is barking up the wrong tree.

This hysteria over Celtic defender Taylor is getting out of hand, though. We don’t want Premiership managers pushing their children over.

Maybe a version of VAR, not the one they use in the English Premier League, would be a good thing. Then we’d have fewer tedious debates like the Ajeti debacle. Goodwin is right in a sense; it doesn’t need to cost millions, and it could help raise the standards of refeering.

But Greg Taylor shouldn’t be the example of why we need some grand debate on referees. Certainly, he shouldn’t have a reputation as a diver. Taylor has always seemed a very honest player, it would be an unfair label ascribed to the wrong person.

Debate this all you want, but it’s ridiculous to act like it’s Celtic who are constantly taking advantage of “bad” refereeing. Frankly, it’s just not the case.

*Basketball isn’t non-contact. This is an annoying stereotype; you’re just not allowed to make contact with the ball-handler.

READ MORE: What to expect when you’re expecting… something.