Celtic boss called out the obsession over referees in Scottish media; he's been proven right

By Euan Davidson

March 22, 2022

It’s quite funny seeing an outside perspective on Scottish football and the media, and when Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou called out the obsession over referees, it gave pause for thought.

He’s right; we are obsessed with the calls that are made or not made in the course of games. After the Livingston game, Ange said [Celtic FC]: “As you’ll know, I don’t get into that too much.

“It seems a lot of the analysis of games here are more “referee watch” than actual analysis of the game.

“Yeah we got a corner we maybe shouldn’t have, but does that mean if we don’t get a corner that we should next time, that we miss out on a goal? There’s still a hell of a lot of things that need to happen for us to score from that resultant corner, or resultant throw-in, or…”

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Since then, he’s been proven right. The story of our win over Dundee United wasn’t Giakoumakis or that we won 3-0. It was all about a Reo Hatate tackle.

At the weekend, we battered an in-form Ross County. Celtic played some staggeringly exciting football, and Giakoumakis was again fantastic. The main story? Whether or not Kayne Ramsey should’ve seen a red card over his tackle on Tom Rogic.

Whether it’s pundits like Tam McManus suggesting the crowd were responsible [Daily Record] or suddenly famous podcasts like the Get Involved Referee platform debating the decision, few of the stories since the game haven’t been about the sending off.

“Ange is loving Scotland” | Andy Harper on what the future holds for Postecoglou at Celtic

“Ange is loving Scotland” | Andy Harper on what the future holds for Postecoglou at Celtic
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

When Celtic win games under Ange Postecoglou, refereeing decisions dominate the headlines

Over those two games against Dundee United and Ross County, Celtic scored 7, and conceded none.

Several different players were involved; our most prolific front three all missed the Dundee United game. Ange Postecoglou made some interesting tactical moves against Ross County, using Jota on the right then swapping wingers, deploying Giakoumakis to great effect; none of that has been spoken about. Not really.

By accepting a media that’s dependent on debating refereeing decisions – even ones that don’t materially effect the scoreline – the same discussions will be had over, and over, and over.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

VAR alone won’t fix this. Think how many debates have been made over VAR since it was introduced in different competitions. If anything, refereeing has been under more scrutiny since the introduction of Video Assistants.

We’re in danger of missing the bigger picture here. Celtic are doing fantastic things on the pitch, and we were already 3-0 up when Ramsey scythed down Tom Rogic. If anything, that incident slowed the game down, and while inarguably it gave Celtic a numerical advantage, did it really matter?

The constant discourse over referees surely has to reach saturation point along the line. Not that Scottish media discussing referees is a bad thing inherently, there has to be accountability. However, we’re ignoring the actual football.

The Scottish Premiership this season has been fantastic. Barely anything separates European spots from a relegation fight. The league leaders have a fascinating manager, and are playing excellent football. Players have come from nowhere to grab headlines, around the league.

So, Ange was immediately proven right when he talked about Scottish obsession over referees. But does it always have to be like this?

I don’t think so.

Read more: The interesting new role Celtic star Juranovic looks set to play for Croatia