I don’t want to go down the line of conspiracy theories – as a Celtic fan I, just like many of you know doubt, get accused of that enough.

But there’s one moment at Ibrox yesterday I just can’t wrap my head around. Okay, so there were some Neil Lennon decisions that bemused me a touch too after we went down to 10 men. But in terms of flashpoints, this was concerning.

Why on earth did Bobby Madden physically restrain Alfredo Morelos during an altercation with Scott Brown?

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Sure, some may say it was in good faith. After all, wasn’t Madden just trying to keep things level-headed and avoid it all spilling over? Yeah, you could say that, but that should only be happening to an extent.

But there’s a line that’s been crossed here. Putting your arms out to try and stop two players from going towards each other is sensible. Physically grabbing another player to desperately halt him from committing what could be a red-card offence? That’s a touch over that line.

Celtic fans not pleased with Madden

It’s not Madden’s job to physically restrain players. If a player is a hothead like Morelos is and lashes out, that’s on him and Rangers. It’s down to James Tavernier or Morelos’ Ibrox teammates to haul him back. Not a neutral referee.

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Now I’m not going to say Madden did this because he’s a Rangers fan. In truth, he probably genuinely thinks he’s trying to simmer the tension. But it’s not right. It’s not something you ever see anywhere else than in Scottish football.

Madden had no qualms in sending Celtic defender Nir Bitton off

Madden had no qualms with sending Celtic defender Nir Bitton off (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Honestly, when’s the last time you’ve seen a referee physically restrain a player to that extent? It’s as if Madden really didn’t want to send him off. But if Morelos commits an act then he walks. It’s as simple as that. It’s down to the player to have self-restraint. It’s not down to the referee. Why has Madden chosen Morelos out of the amount of players involved in the scuffle? Hm.

This was even a moment that had neutral supporters questioning what was going on. But it certainly didn’t impress the Celtic fans either. Instead of being punished, Morelos has actually been rescued by the referee here. For whatever reason.

Here’s a look at some of the reaction to the bizarre incident:

 

In other news, Lennon appeared determined to fixate on Celtic’s derby dominance when speaking to club TV.

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