St Johnstone man does uncanny impression of Celtic boss Postecoglou over hot-button issue

By Euan Davidson

November 20, 2021

St Johnstone defender Liam Gordon has spoken out about Celtic and criticism of referees; in the process, sounding like Bhoys boss Ange Postecoglou.

Ian Bankier addressed concerns about refereeing in Scotland this week. Certainly, there have been questionable calls, which have benefitted Rangers over the course of a season. Responding to any and all news with the phrase “Penalty Rangers” has become a running joke.

Although the topic came up in earnest from Celtic supporters, it’s understandable why other teams might see it as a mind game tactic. Putting spotlight on the referees before a big game, after all, is a classic manoeuvre.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Addressing this before tonight’s clash between Celtic and St Johnstone, Gordon said [Courier]:

“It’s not something that’s ever come up in conversation with any of the players.

“We are just fully focused on ourselves, turning up and going a job.

“All the other distractions… I just think if you start filling your head with that stuff you are on the wrong path and it’s only going to lead to destruction in a way.”

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You know what? Fair enough. But what’s particularly interesting is how Ange Postecoglou responded to a similar question after the last Celtic v St Johnstone game. After a debacle in which Cameron Carter-Vickers was penalised for being punched, the Celtic boss said:

“Over my years in management I have learned that you let those things go as much as you can. 

“You can go down that rabbit hole and end up pulling your hair out. I try to let the officials handle these things. 

“It’s important we don’t get frustrated at these kind of things because they can eat away at you and we need to focus on what is important to us.”

Interestingly, Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou and the St Johnstone players have same ideas about referees

It’s easy to plunge into conspiracy theory territory in the Scottish top-flight. It isn’t just Celtic fans suggesting that Rangers get some unbelievable calls in their favour.

Or that some referees are over-zealous with Celtic, and gave unfavourable calls our way.

However, it’s clear the St Johnstone players aren’t going to be thinking about this. At least, they say they won’t. And Ange Postecoglou has been consistent, for his part.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The Celtic manager doesn’t want to use any excuses. The ideal is to build a team so formidable that referees have no material impact on results. That’s the way it should be, at least.

To a degree, it’s quite tiring to talk about referees all the time. Controversies borne from inadequate whistle-blowers are a constant. Having professional referees might help. Or, VAR, which should be introduced next season. Competence is the key issue.

It’s not a focus of Postecoglou’s, though. Nor is it the focus of our opponents today, according to Liam Gordon.

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