Jon Flanagan's retrospective punishment shows enough is enough

By Hamish Carton

May 14, 2019

Jon Flanagan has become the latest Rangers player to be charged retrospectively following a Glasgow derby. The full-back has been given a two-match ban following an ugly elbow on Scott Brown during Sunday’s match.

He follows Ryan Kent who was charged for a punch also on the Celtic captain in March’s encounter between the teams. Neither player was reprimanded during the match meaning Celtic didn’t receive any advantage at all.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Added to the English duo, there have also been incidents in this season’s other two derbies that went unpunished. Allan McGregor was incredibly fortunate to avoid punishment for a stamp on Kristoffer Ajer in September, while Brown, Ryan Christie and Anthony Ralston were all on the end of similar behaviour from Alfredo Morelos in the New Year’s match.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Enough is enough

It’s all well and good punishing players retrospectively but that doesn’t deal with the core issue. Referees have continually missed the abuse of Celtic players during derby matches this season. The SFA must draw a line under this and look at the best way to combat the problem.

The obvious answer is VAR. The above incidents would all have been corrected by the technology under the “clear and obvious error” ruling. Bringing in VAR would also make players less likely to conduct themselves in such a manner for fear of punishment.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The likes of Kent and Flanagan must be amazed that they were able to get away with such violent offences. Meanwhile, Celtic’s players are left to suck it up and ponder what should have been.