The SFA disciplinary system is a joke but Celtic won't be laughing

By Euan Davidson

January 28, 2022

Let’s be honest; whatever the outcome of the SFA Disciplinary hearing against Alloa midfielder Mouhamed Niang, Celtic will not benefit whatsoever.

Today, Alloa chiefs will make a ridiculous argument about the Celtic manager making things worse. That Niang’s injury-inducing tackle was entirely about momentum. Whatever the case, nobody at Celtic has any real passion to see a young footballer get suspended now.

It doesn’t benefit us in any way, shape or form. And it’s with impeccable timing that we see Calum Butcher’s name pop up, another player who was given a yellow instead of a red. He was suspended retrospectively; again, it doesn’t help or hinder Celtic whatsoever.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

These horror tackles, in any well-run league with proper refereeing infrastructure, would’ve been punished immediately. Instead, the SFA are allowing referees to send out the message that Scottish football is rough and agricultural. That’s just how it is! Why change anything?

Now, we won both games. Turnbull avoided injury when Butcher scythed him late as Celtic beat Dundee United. The Hoops saw off Alloa, although Ideguchi felt the worst of it. This isn’t some “woe is us” rant on the decisions Celtic should’ve got in “our” favour. That’d be pointless.

No, instead, we have to ask; who does the SFA Disciplinary panel actually help? It’s not referees, it’s not aggrieved clubs, and it’s not players.

Especially with Calum Butcher’s assertion that he won’t change. Why should he, if this is how the game is governed here?

Ange predicts a bright future as Celtic find a new hero at Tynecastle

Ange predicts a bright future as Celtic find a new hero at Tynecastle
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

The SFA continually get major disciplinary calls wrong, and Celtic are repeatedly stung

We’re not going to act as if a Celtic player has never been suspended. Or that a Celtic player has been lucky to avoid a retrospective red card, or whatever the case.

Celtic players have made bad tackles before. Players aren’t angels. This should be obvious.

But surely there’s got to be a better system. Obviously, it comes down to better judgement from referees at the time of the incident, and how those decisions affect games. But the same referees get picked for big fixtures without any sort of consequence.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

The fact that it’s Don Robertson involved in both incidents we’ve cited says a great deal, no?

It’s just really not good enough, for any team. This is on a Celtic leaning website, but any SPFL club could rightfully argue the same thing. Who on earth does it help if players are getting banned for matches after the fact? No doubt, suspensions need handed out where applicable, but it doesn’t really benefit the aggrieved team in any case, does it?

We shouldn’t have to talk about the referees so often. In many respects, it’s tiresome, and it distracts from the “product” of Scottish football.

But we do. And it’s because of shoddy SFA disciplinary decision-making, serving out “justice” long after the fact and just poor, poor refereeing displays nearly everywhere, every week.

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