Former Celtic star Kris Commons believes the Scottish FA have reached a new low after their handling of the recent ‘diving’ incident involved James Keatings, writing in his Scottish Daily Mail column (24/02 print edition, Verdict supplement page 20).
Celtic have had their own run-ins with the governing body already this season, especially after the farcical call to ban Ryan Christie for a number of matches after December’s derby against Rangers.
Last month, a statement emerged from Celtic Park that said: “Scottish football deserves a disciplinary process which is fair, consistent and fit for purpose.”
The latest drama involving former Hoops youth player Keatings developed after replays showed the card he received for simulation that would rule him out of a Challenge Cup final with Inverness Caledonian Thistle was very, very harsh.
The Hampden decision-makers would later admit a panel that convened to potentially turn around the referee’s call had not acted appropriately.
Commons now believes that the SFA have made football in this country a ‘laughing stock’ and believes the retrospective procedures applied at Hampden now have ‘zero credibility’.
As quoted by The Scottish Daily Mail (24/02 print edition, Verdict supplement page 20), the former attacker said: “Just when it seems like there are no depths left to plumb, they find a way of outdoing themselves. Their handling of the James Keatings affair has been utterly appalling.
By admitting to incompetence in the original process, and for enabling the incident to become the source of such ridicule, the SFA have dragged Scottish football’s reputation through the mud.
“We’re a laughing stock once again. All of this in a week where the nation’s co-efficient received another boost thanks to our results in Europe. The SFA’s disciplinary process now has zero credibility.”
Commons clearly feels a change has to occur and he could soon get his wish, with a report from The Daily Mail emerging last week that suggested both Celtic and Rangers are leading the way in the quest for reform.
The paper said that discontent with the current disciplinary process was now ‘widespread’ throughout the Scottish Premiership.
That was before the Keatings shambles, which has probably only strengthened resolve against the way panels rule on incidents referred by the compliance officer.
Hopefully, the clubs can seek solutions and vote on them in time for the 2020/21 season.