Premiership manager's poor defence of shocking Celtic flashpoint

By David Walton

February 10, 2021

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander has provided a dismal attempt at defending Devante Cole’s shocking Celtic flashpoint.

With the Hoops leading Motherwell 2-1 at Celtic Park on Saturday, Cole flicked his boot out at Ismaila Soro. It was a straight attempt to catch the Ivorian in the chest, and he managed it too. You can view it for yourself below:

Quite inexplicably at the time, referee Nick Walsh refused to send him off. That’s despite the fact it was violent conduct and there was no attempt to play the ball.

However, now Motherwell boss Alexander has offered up his own dismal defence of the incident. It’s fair to say he doesn’t sound convincing either after Cole was let off by the judicial panel yesterday.

As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Alexander said: “I didn’t see it at the time. When he lost the ball I put my head down because we were on the attack. I haven’t looked back because I thought it had been dealt with at the time.

“After the incident, I was focusing on the game in front of us. we went on the analysis which they feedback to us. I’ll look at it but I didn’t hear any complaints or their players didn’t make a big deal so I thought the ref had dealt with it.

I asked him about the goalline clearance which they cleared up straight away and he didn’t mention anything so that’s it as far as I’m concerned. I know Coley from down south playing against my teams and that’s never been the case at all. It’s not in his nature at all to do that. You get the game done and if things are dealt with at the time then for me it’s gone. That’s why I haven’t looked back on it and paid any attention.”

Alexander doesn’t convince; Celtic flashpoint was a clear red card

It’s interesting that when you break down Alexander’s view on this, he actually doesn’t have one. He does his best to simply move on from the incident instead of actually delving into it.

Forgive me for assuming, but if your player was being accused of doing something violent on the pitch that you know he hadn’t done, wouldn’t you be explaining why it wasn’t dangerous? Alexander makes no attempt to actually defend the kick. Instead, he’s just giving it the “ah let’s just move on” patter.

This age-old excuse of “he’s not that type of player” riles me up too. To say it’s not in Cole’s nature to kick out means nothing. We’ve just literally seen it with our own eyes. It’s a red card by the letter of the law, and the fact he’s been let away with it is absolutely mystifying.

Devante Cole in action against Celtic / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Would Scott Brown get away with flicking a boot out like that? Of course he wouldn’t. So why Cole isn’t being pulled up is debatable to say the least.

It’s also a dangerous can of worms the SFA have now opened. By letting Cole off, it’s giving others the freedom to kick other players. They can now point to this case and say that it’s been proven to be allowed.

Why on earth the governing body went down this route I’ll never know. It’s a shocking decision on a flashpoint that even his own manager clearly can’t explain.

In other news, Jim Goodwin has taken a sly dig at Sky Sports over their lack of coverage surrounding St Mirren.