There are two events which appear certain when Celtic meet Hearts in Glasgow these days: Kyogo Furuhashi goals and Robbie Neilson meltdowns.
Clearly unaware that two Celtic players have been sent off in home games this season alone, it was yet another example of Neilson failing to accept the scoreline. This is no new thing.
In December 2021, after a 1-0 loss at Celtic Park, he claimed he’d need a custodial sentence if he commented on referee Bobby Madden’s performance.
“I’d end up going to jail if I said what I really think about it,” he said, as reported by the Edinburgh Evening News.
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“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. The boy pulls his hamstring and the referee stops the game and gives them the ball back when we’re going to counter-attack. But that’s Scottish football, you’re in Glasgow.”
That chip-on-the-shoulder mentality continued later in the season. After the 4-1 win that virtually wrapped up the title for us, Neilson wasn’t particularly gracious.
“The less said about that the better, from Don Robertson’s perspective.
“When you come through to Glasgow, you have to get these decisions. If you don’t get these decisions then it’s a very, very difficult.” (Sky Sports)
This season, after our 2-0 home win in August, Neilson told BBC Radio Scotland: “Until the referee sends two of our players off, we’re still in the game and in a good position, but once that happens, it makes it very difficult.
“You hope that an experienced referee would recognise the situation. The first one, there’s no need for a second yellow card. It’s the linesman who makes the decision.”
And after our 4-3 win at Tynecastle months later, he bizarrely suggested that Hearts had “absolutely rattled” Celtic.
There is a constant theme here. Neilson talks up his own team in defeat, and blames referees for not being brave enough to give decisions against Celtic.
Thankfully we don’t need to wait long for the next Neilson meltdown. It will arrive on Saturday afternoon if Celtic do the business at Tynecastle.