SFA intervene after horrific challenge during Dundee United v Celtic

By Euan Davidson

December 7, 2021

Calum Butcher is set to face an SFA panel on Thursday after his horrific challenge for Dundee United against Celtic.

Butcher, somewhat ironically named in this scenario, went high and badly timed on David Turnbull in Celtic’s 3-0 win at the weekend. The challenge was described as “outrageous” by Chris Sutton, while Sky Sports’ commentary team, including Andy Walker, were hugely surprised it wasn’t a straight red.

Luckily, Turnbull emerged unscathed. Butcher, however, will be fortunate if he isn’t retrospectively banned by the SFA.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The SFA have listed Discplinary Rule 200 [SFA]. As an act of violent conduct or serious foul play, charges can be fast-tracked before the SFA disciplinary committee.

That’s happening with Butcher, whose case has been rushed to this Thursday.

Of course, that’s of little comfort to Celtic. That Turnbull wasn’t seriously injured, and the game was all but won when Butcher made the tackle are both side-notes here. There’ll be a certain sense of justice that Celtic will be hoping for when the SFA make their decision on Thursday, as immaterial as it is to us in a footballing sense.

Refereeing decisions have been the focus of headlines across Scottish Football this week. Unbelievably, Hearts chairman Leslie Deans has said Celtic should replay or forfeit their win over the Jambos on Thursday night. Primarily because Kyogo’s goal was rightly awarded.

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Dundee United await SFA judgement after horrific challenge on Celtic man David Turnbull

What happens here might actually have some consequence though. Often, we hear of technically gifted players not being protected enough by referees. Turnbull fits that category, as a skilful midfield creator who’d already had a huge impact on the game in question.

Banning Butcher would surely help the SFA to demonstrate a zero tolerance on high, late and dangerous tackles. If players are deterred by disciplinary measures, the match-winners across Scotland will be afforded the chance to play with less fear of being scythed down.

That would be something, wouldn’t it?

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

It’s likely refereeing and disciplinary disputes will rumble on for weeks yet. Whether it was the Kyogo non-controversy, allegations that the Japanese striker drives, penalties to Rangers against SPFL opposition or matters like these.

That’s a shame, because league-wide, the standard of football has been excellent this season. To get bogged down in disciplinary matters feels a disservice.

But until referees can make the right decision, it looks as though that’ll be the case for a while yet.

Read more: Celtic Cup Final referee named; Sutton labelled him “totally incompetent” after recent Ibrox call