Chris Sutton weighs in on Dundee United v Celtic flashpoint that still has fans talking

By Euan Davidson

December 7, 2021

Chris Sutton has reacted to Callum Butcher’s horror tackle for Dundee United against Celtic on Sunday.

The SFA, as reported yesterday, are set to retrospectively rule on Butcher’s tackle on David Turnbull. The substitute should’ve been shown red for a high, dangerous tackle on the Scotland international. In the modern game, it’s about as clear a red card as you’ll see, but Don Robertson only dished out a booking.

With refereeing under the microscope, it’s the last thing the SFA would’ve wanted. The introduction of VAR to the game can’t really come quick enough for the governing body.

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Chris Sutton, who’s never been shy of saying what he thinks about Celtic, officials, or both, weighed in on the topic.

He said [Daily Record]:

“It was an outrageous tackle. He could have broken David Turnbull’s leg.

“Listen, I like Calum Butcher as a player – but that was miles over the top. It was reckless and dangerous. Turnbull was lucky to avoid serious injury. You can’t allow that sort of challenge to go unpunished. What sort of message does that send out about Scottish football?

“That we allow this kind of thing to go on? This is not the Wild West. I can’t fathom why the officials missed it in the first place. It was a clear red card.

“Scottish officials have had a bad week or so but this should have been an easy decision. People talk about VAR but it shouldn’t even need to go to a video replay to see that was an awful tackle. They’ve left the SFA with no choice but to step in and deal with it because that simply cannot go unpunished.”

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Chris Sutton is right, but Dundee United v Celtic decision won’t help Bhoys now

Whether Callum Butcher meant it or not, it was a horrific tackle. Turnbull, who had been excellent throughout, was extremely lucky not to have been seriously injured.

The SFA will make their deliberations, but it matters little now. As my colleague John McGinley pointed out, had that been a tight game, not sending off Butcher could have had a real impact on the result. Thankfully, it didn’t, because Celtic all but had the game wrapped up at that point.

Another injury could’ve been devastating though. Especially in the midfield, where creative options in the middle are at a premium.

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Simply put, the SFA referees have to improve. Everyone knows this. That they’re sponsored by Specsavers continues to be an irony as opposed to the semi-joke it was probably supposed to be.

Real decisions must be made. The standard has to improve league-wide. Chris Sutton has made reference to it before; even if VAR was introduced, could we trust the current crop of refs to use it accurately?

This isn’t about partisanship and bias. If that tackle had been on a Rangers player, a Ross County player or an Aberdeen player, you’d hope it would be red-carded. The standard needs to be high and consistent.

Chris Sutton, seldom shy to talk about Celtic and SFA referees, is bang on as per.

Read more: SPFL man makes classy assessment on playing against Postecoglou’s Celtic