Celtic slap down former SPFL chairman's embarrassing outburst

By Euan Davidson

December 8, 2021

The embarrassing comments made by former Hearts chairman Leslie Deans have been furiously slapped down by a Celtic spokesperson.

Deans said yesterday that, due to incidents in the Celtic win over Hearts last week, the game should be replayed. Or, the Edinburgh side should be given the points. The ex-Jambos chief also said that Celtic had remained silent on the issue of crowd trouble relating to Barrie McKay.

It had a whiff of desperation about it at the time, and even more so with a day to reflect. Celtic have, though, at last replied to the criticism through a spokesperson in the popular press.

Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

The club responded [Daily Record]:

“His comments are inaccurate. He is clearly unaware that we have already made comment and that we were in contact with Hearts immediately after the incident, which is being handled appropriately.”

Clearly, then, Deans has spoken well before establishing any facts.

The last thing the club wants is any player being either verbally or physically attacked from the stands. However, rather than letting the two clubs work on the issue without playing it out publicly, Deans’ ill-informed comments have meant Celtic had to respond in the newspapers.

Andrés Iniesta poses with another Celtic target, as ridiculous Hearts whining continues

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Andrés Iniesta poses with another Celtic target, as ridiculous Hearts whining continues
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An entirely avoidable situation for Celtic and Hearts

Firstly, Hearts’ reaction to last week in general has been incredible, and not in a good way. The Barrie McKay scenes deserve condemnation, of course. But the reaction to the refereeing has been embarrassing all-around. Whether it’s Neilson saying he’d “go to jail” for saying what he really thought [Edinburgh Evening News] or Deans’ “replay the game or award the points” outburst.

It was a tight onside, but Kyogo was behind the ball when the pass was made. Therefore it was onside. That there’s controversy about this is faintly ridiculous.

That almost a week later we’re still discussing this is, in itself, petty.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Has the level of discourse in football really stayed so stagnant? Is this where we are? Of course referees have to improve, and there was bad decisions both ways last Thursday, but was that game really the most heinous example of refereeing this season? I’m not even sure it’d make the top 10.

As for Celtic, a more emphatic statement to fans following this Hearts debacle would’ve probably been the correct call here. It’s good to see the club finally stand up for itself, but there’s surely more to come. Especially while there are continuous, outrageous attacks on Kyogo in the national press.

It’s sad that, with so much great football being played in the top-flight, referees and decisions dominate the headlines. Our game deserves better standards, and better discourse.

Read more: 535,000 reasons why Celtic should be aiming for a massive Europa League send-off