Official involved in major Tannadice controversy is handed Celtic Park clash

By Euan Davidson

November 30, 2021

The SFA have appointed Bobby Madden to referee Thursday night’s game between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian [SFA].

Madden was embroiled in controversy earlier this month. Despite being pushed by a supporter, Aberdeen’s Funso Ojo received his marching orders in a game against Dundee United [Scotsman]. Manager Stephen Glass also saw red for his comments to Madden at half-time [BBC].

Madden has overseen two Celtic games this season. Funnily enough, the first was when Hearts beat Celtic at Tynecastle.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The second was at Pittodrie, when he gave a remarkable 27 fouls to the hosts against Celtic. That was despite Celtic having 61% of the possession. To say it was a frustrating refereeing display is downplaying it somewhat.

Oddly, Madden has also refereed in Greece at the weekend. The SFA official was handed the whistle for PAOK’s clash against Aris Saloniki [Instagram].

Refereeing has been a hot-button issue in Scotland this season. Some questionable calls have been awarded in favour of our rivals, not least a Ryan Porteous sending off for Hibs against Rangers.

VAR will be introduced at some stage in Scotland. However, Celtic legend Chris Sutton believes it’s pointless, because the league’s referees don’t have the competence to use it correctly.

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Bobby Madden knows there’ll be focus on him at Celtic Park this Thursday

Speaking personally, I’d rather not talk about the referees. The standard of refereeing in Scotland is so poor that it’s made the whistlers famous, or infamous depending on your point of view.

How many Europa League referees’ names can you remember? Exactly. When we play in Europe, the man in black is so rarely the focus of attention. To my mind, at least, not being able to remember a referee is a good thing.

However, pile-ons are hardly a great thing either. While the SFA and the refs themselves will argue impartiality, having a bad reputation with certain teams’ fans is definitely going to play on the mind. It’d only be natural.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It seems strange that Madden is getting to referee top-level games with the SFA not questioning the calls he made at Tannadice. However, Celtic cannot let this be a distraction.

Ange Postecoglou has maintained a stance of neutrality on referees. That’s been refreshing, because moaning about decisions is rarely a good look for anyone, righteous or otherwise. Let’s hope that isn’t tested on Thursday.

Read more: “We got dominated”; SPFL boss’ frank admission on Ange Postecoglou and Celtic