Kevin Clancy's Celtic vs Rangers appointment doesn't make for confident reading

By David Walton

December 24, 2019

Kevin Clancy was today announced as the referee for Sunday’s match between Celtic and Rangers at Parkhead.

Some Celtic fans certainly weren’t happy with the appointment today and no wonder. He denied us two stonewall penalties at Easter Road back in September. It was a game we ended up drawing 1-1, thus losing our 100% record at the time.

However, it’s more than just that which should raise cause for concern too. Indeed, when Celtic have had Clancy announced as their referee, we’ve only managed to win three of our last seven games with him.

More often than not, Celtic don’t win with Kevin Clancy in charge (Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

This season, we’ve managed to win two and draw one. That stalemate was at Easter Road. Last season, he refereed five of our matches. The latest four of them saw us win only one – a 2-0 win at home to Motherwell.

He was the referee in results last season such as Livingston 0-0 Celtic, Motherwell 1-1 Celtic, and Rangers 2-0 Celtic. There wasn’t much to enjoy in games under him.

Card-happy Clancy?

Last season, Clancy managed to produce a pretty incredible 160 yellow cards over a period of 38 games (Soccerbase). That equates to an average of nearly five cards a game. In a match that’s going to contain the likes of Alfredo Morelos, Scott Arfield, and Ryan Jack next weekend, you would hope Clancy remembers where his cards are for that one.

Clancy needs to put his foot down on Sunday (Callum Landells/Getty Images)

In his last 57 matches as a referee, only one game has ended without him producing a card. Clancy is on an interesting run of three red cards in his last four matches, but the last time he gave us a red was in 2015 when he sent Efe Ambrose off against Hearts. It’ll be interesting to see if his leniency is tested on Sunday by either side.

Rangers don’t have a much better record with Clancy as a ref either in truth. They’ve only won four of his last seven in charge, and he was the referee when Rangers drew 1-1 at Tynecastle back in October.

The penalties against Hibernian will be fresh in the mind for Celtic fans, but Clancy doesn’t seem to show any noticeable bias in his stats. He, just like many in the SFA’s referee list, is prone to making shocking decisions that can ultimately prove costly.

Clancy gave us a penalty at Fir Park last season (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Our form with him in the middle has been extremely dodgy, but it doesn’t seem to be down to anything too sinister. We had a penalty against Motherwell in that 1-1 draw that was missed by Leigh Griffiths for example. Had we scored that, we would have the same record that Rangers do under his watch.

Clancy needs to just keep his focus on what will be the biggest game of his career. So long as he gets the big calls spot on, he can leave Parkhead patting himself on the back. However, our form under him remains dodgy, and something we’ll hopefully have improved on by full-time on the 29th.