Celtic receive potentially good omen from UEFA as familiar referee named for Betis clash

By Euan Davidson

December 7, 2021

UEFA have given Polish referee Daniel Stefanski the whistle for Celtic v Real Betis on Thursday night [UEFA].

Stefanski, a professional ref since 2013, has dished out 24 yellows and 2 red cards across all competitions, primarily in the top flight of Polish football [Transfermarkt]. What’s more, he has a bit of history with Scottish teams, including the Tartan Army.

The UEFA-licensed ref was at the helm of Scotland’s 2-1 defeat to Israel back in 2018, but he did award a penalty to Scotland that was dispatched by Charlie Mulgrew [Scotsman]. Prior to that, he whistled a Rangers European win over FC Ufa, and one of Aberdeen’s best recent continental results. A penalty, converted by former Celtic winger Niall McGinn, was awarded in a Dons win over Groningen.

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Decent omens, then. And although there’s nothing to play for in a material sense, there’s still an opportunity for Celtic here. The squad will be rotated, according to Ange Postecoglou. That means a win over Betis, who overcame Barcelona at the weekend, would be even sweeter.

Of course, we’re not suggesting that the choice of referee means we have any advantage on Thursday night. Far from it. However, in Daniel Stefanski, we’ll have a ref with a history of making big calls for Scottish sides.

Given the discourse over SFA referees in recent weeks, some competence would be a refreshing change of pace.

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

UEFA name Stefanski as ref for Celtic v Betis, some competence would be refreshing

How many Europa League or Champions League referees – current ones – can you name? Not including the Scottish ones? Unless you have a photographic memory, you’re probably like me and can’t really remember any.

That’s a good sign. Refs in Scotland are household names, but normally for all the wrong reasons. In an ideal world, the referees would be so perfunctory and anonymous that they’d barely register with supporters. Speaking personally, that’s my working theory, at least.

Stefanski has a particularly interesting record with Scottish teams, as it turns out. It’s an interesting note, not necessarily an indication that he’ll turn up in a See You Jimmy hat and send Betis players off for a laugh.

Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The Andalusians are already dealing with suspension woes of course. Star man Nebil Fekir has been ruled out of Thursday night, while Celtic have to contend with missing Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Even without stakes, it should be a fun one. And perhaps we’ve landed the perfect referee for the occasion.

How will we know? If we immediately forget his name.

Read more: AC Milan star Rafael Leao tweets after brilliant Jota to Celtic update