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The incredible red card stats of Crawford Allan

Crawford Allan might be winding down his time as Head of Refereeing at the SFA but Monday’s announcement has put a spotlight on his time in charge of Scotland’s referees.

The timing of the announcement, midway between issuing Brendan Rodgers with a Notice of Complaint and the hearing on March 28, certainly looks suspicious but coming during an international break with little happening elsewhere it has put the spotlight on his departure.

When it comes to stats, providing facts and comparisons, every Internet Bampot worth their salt has to be following Lint on Twitter.

Whether it is highlighting the statistical runs that the mainstream won’t go near or comparing similar incidents with different outcomes Lint is the man.

Over the last six months the increasing run of SPFL matches without the Ibrox club conceding a penalty drew some attention. A run that covered three seasons, three managers, no SPFL title wins and the introduction of VAR saw the run reach an incredible 75 matches.

Over 10 matches, perhaps six months or even a full season some unusual stats could be a complete coincidence but going from January 2022 to January 2024 is clearly something way beyond that.

Social media has been rife with the real reasons for Allan stepping down, one of the favoured theories being put forward is the evidence that Celtic have gathered for Rodgers’ appeal against the Notice of Complaint.

If the audio is unavailable for any reason the baw is burst, even Michael Nicholson should be able to find the net with an open goal to demolish through the SFA and all involved, starting with Ian Maxwell and working down.

Aside from red cards the other stat that is easy to monitor is penalty kicks, funnily enough away to Hearts earlier this month John Beaton prompted Don Robertson to send off a Celtic player and award a penalty against the hoops.

Despite the clamour and attention on that match Allan decided against making an unscheduled appearance on Sportsound for some soft questioning from the lads at Radio Scotland.

Crawford Allan, SFA, ed cards

Season 2018/19, the last before Crawford Allan, 8 red cards.

In Steve Gerrard’s first season in charge little was expected under the rookie boss, an improvement on Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty was likely but challenging Celtic for the title was asking too much.

Alfredo Morelos was red carded five times, once away to Ufa in a Europa League qualifier, three times against Aberdeen and one playing against Celtic. For reasons only known to himself Beaton refused to send the striker off despite the carnage against Celtic in December of that season.

Eight red cards in 38 matches were dished out to Gerrard’s ill-disciplined squad, three more than any other team in the SPFL Premiership.


SFA, red cards, Crawford Allan

Season 20/21, Allan’s first in charge 0 red cards

The miracle of Lockdown, with every match played behind closed doors there was a marked difference in how referees treated Gerrard’s side with largely the same squad.

Once Borna Barisic, Connor Goldson and Ryan Kent were signed Gerrard’s Starting XI was very settled, strangely their on field discipline improved from the worst in the SPFL Premiership to the best. Red cards going from eight to 0, yellows from 48 to 26.

Celtic were in self-destruct mode that season but no chances were taken with red cards at Ibrox. Neil Lennon’s squad had fairly similar numbers to the 2018/19 season, yellow cards were down a bit with reds reduced from three to two, hardly earth shattering stuff, certainly in comparison to the disciplinary miracle across the city at Ibrox.

From eight red cards, just under one every fifth match to none in 38 is pretty special. European referees never noticed the difference, at home to Slavia Prague Kemar Roofe and Leon Balogun were sent off in a 12 minute spell on March 18.

Helping to mask the figures for season 20/21 were three retrospective red cards.

On 13 December away to Dundee United Steven McLean looked the other way at a forearm smash from Alfredo Morelos, against Hibs on January 27 Kevin Clancy missed Morelos kicking out at Ryan Porteous in the first half before the Colombian scored the only goal of the game in the 51st minute. In the next match David Munro watched a brutal attack on Callum Davidson by Roofe, issued a yellow card in the 25th minute with Ianis Hagi scoring the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute.

All three incidents resulted in retrospective red cards, full points were picked up in the matches that should have seen Gerrard and Micky Beale switching the tactics to play with 10 men.

Explaining some of the context of Allan’s departure on the SFA website Ian Maxwell stated:

In many ways, overseeing the introduction of VAR has been a thankless task. Yet it has been essential for Scottish football to remain at the forefront of on-field technology and in-step with the leading domestic competitions across Europe, as well as ensuring our match officials and VAR operators can continue to operate at FIFA and UEFA level.

Crawford has been integral to that process – from feasibility, to training, to roll-out – for much of his tenure and we are grateful that he will remain in place and provide continuity until the end of the season.

Whilst there is a recognition that, globally, the VAR processes need to improve, this is a challenge for all key stakeholders within Scottish football to work through in the context of our own domestic competition. This includes all key external stakeholders having a better understanding of the Laws of the Game, the lines of intervention for VAR, and the adopted guidance within Scottish football, especially in subjective areas such as the handball law.

We must work together to alleviate the unsustainable pressure on match officials and VAR operators, to remove the convenient blame culture attached to subjective or unpopular decisions, and to ensure more focus is placed on the entertainers rather than the on-field facilitators.

Perhaps some communications and explanations might have assisted Allan, unless there were no explanations to offer against stats that were clear red flags.

CLICK HERE for the Crawford Allan rumours.

CLICK HERE for SFA statement on Allan’s departure.

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