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Disappointed Celtic take it on the chin from the SFA as they issue trademark statement

Celtic are apparently ‘disappointed’ by the outcome of today’s Notice of Appeal that has handed Brendan Rodgers a two match touchline ban for comments made after the defeat to Hearts at the start of the month.

The fact that one of the matches has been suspended, allowing the Celtic manager to be in the dug-out at Ibrox on April has been greeted as a sort of victory by some fans.

It seems to have escaped them that the decision making of two leading referees contributed greatly to Celtic losing three vital SPFL points with Don Robertson and John Beaton given a free pass for their performances.

Robertson will referee Celtic’s match at Livingston on Sunday, Beaton is favourite to be in charge for the match at Ibrox on April 7 with Robertson taking charge when Philippe Clement’s side visit Dundee three days later.

There is no sign of any punishment there with Crawford Allan, recently the subject of a Vote of No Confidence from Premiership clubs remaining in charge of all refereeing appointments until the end of this season.

Using a familiar theme, after today’s hearing Celtic stated:

Following a hearing by the SFA disciplinary panel today (Thursday), Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has been issued with a two-match suspension. One match is immediate and will apply to this Sunday’s Premiership game against Livingston, while one match is suspended until the end of the 2023/24 season.

A Celtic Football Club statement said: “Clearly, we are disappointed with the outcome of today’s hearing, although we will accept the panel’s decision.

The Manager appeared at the hearing today, and his defence was presented robustly and thoroughly.

Like many other clubs, we will continue to press for the highest standards in relation to the VAR process in Scottish football.” 

It could all have been avoided had Celtic taken up the issues with Beaton at the start of 2019 following an incredible display at Ibrox.

Alfredo Morelos was given licence to do as he liked as he attacked Scott Brown, Tony Ralston and Ryan Christie without even a booking, on reviewing the match the SFA decided not to take any retrospective action.

Six days after the match Celtic came up with a statement carrying a familiar theme:

Celtic Football Club is surprised that there will be no disciplinary action taken by the Scottish FA regarding the incidents during the match on December 29, which have been widely addressed in the media. 

It is reported that no action was taken because the match referee saw all of the incidents in question. 

Given that the referee took no action at the time, this tends to suggest that such conduct, which in one instance led to a Celtic player, Anthony Ralston, being injured, is acceptable in Scottish football. That cannot be right.

On the day, Celtic did not play well enough to win the match, something we accept. However, this issue goes beyond the result of the match.

Celtic is not the only club this season to raise concerns regarding the standard of officiating at matches in Scotland, concerns which have also been shared by many commentators on the game.

In order to fully understand what is going on, Celtic, our supporters, Scottish clubs and the general Scottish football public need transparency in these matters, and we therefore call on the Scottish FA to allow the referee, John Beaton, to explain these decisions publicly as well as any match officials involved in other similar circumstances.

In the meantime, we have requested a meeting with Scottish FA Chief Executive, Ian Maxwell, and the Association’s Head of Refereeing.

John Beaton, VAR, SFA, Graeme Shinnie, Crawford AllanNothing further was said about the issue until Celtic’s 2019 AGM when Peter Lawwell sheepishly admitted that the matter had been resolved.

With Allan in charge of Refereeing Beaton has been rewarded by being put in charge of the 2020 and 2023 Scottish Cup Finals.

At the 2021 Celtic AGM Ian Bankier was questioned about John Beaton and Nick Walsh, responding, the former Celtic Chairman said that refereeing matters were a deep source of concern.

With their responses restricted to variations on the disappointed statement followed by no action Rodgers and his players are entirely at the mercy of Allan and Ian Maxwell until the end of the season.

Meanwhile after a campaign led by the club through their media messengers Willie Collum has gone 12 rounds of SPFL Premiership fixtures without getting a match involving Philippe Clement’s side.

Since 27 July 2012 there has been a complete reluctance on the part of the Celtic board to meaningfully challenge any matters involving the SFA, SPL or SPFL.

On Tuesday morning the match officials for Celtic’s match at Ibrox will be announced although the individuals involved will probably be aware to give them extra time to prepare for the fixture.

Beaton has missed out on the last six Glasgow Derby appointments which makes him a strong candidate to referee the match on April 7 or be on VAR duty as a consolation.

This weekend the Bellshill based official will be in charge of Partick Thistle against Inverness Caley Thistle, away from the television and VAR cameras.

Over the last three seasons, and especially since Bobby Madden quit refereeing Nick Walsh has emerged as the man that the SFA trust most to handle the Glasgow Derby, being put in charge of the fixture twice last season including the League Cup Final at Hampden.

Walsh did referee the last match between the clubs at the end of December, ideally the SFA would give next week’s match to a different official but with the circumstances surrounding Beaton they may revert back to Walsh to take some of the sting out of the fixture.

CLICK HERE for Celtic make decision on tickets for Ibrox.

CLICK HERE for SFA Notice of Complaint against Brendan Rodgers.

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