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The three critical questions that no one asked Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers eased his way through his usual round of pre-match interviews at Lennoxtown yesterday with no-one any the wiser about what went on during his appeal against a Notice of Complaint from the SFA that has resulted in a one match touchline ban, the first in a managerial career stretching back almost 20 years.

First up the Celtic boss spoke to Sky Sports, next it was with the broadcasters and then the daily newspapers. There might have also been a slot for Sunday newspapers.

All that supporters have learned from the interviews is that Rodgers stands by his comments. He has no regrets.

It seems that no one present thought to ask if

a) After hearing the audio between John Beaton and Don Robertson does Rodgers understand why the two controversial decisions were taken?

b) Is he surprised that Robertson will referee Sunday’s match at Livingston, his first since Tynecastle?

c) Having described Beaton as incompetent is he concerned about the Bellshill based official being involved in future Celtic matches this season?

Apparently questions about how Livingston will approach Sunday’s match and ticket allocations for fixtures next season are more important to those on the media invite list.

At the turn of the year every story relating to Willie Collum and the Abdallah Sima offside incident at Celtic Park had to reference the audio between the VAR, Willie Collum and match referee Nick Walsh.

As soon as the new year holiday was over James Bisgrove was sitting down with Ian Maxwell and Crawford Allan at Hampden, listening to the audio and getting a detailed run through of the decision making process.

On January 4, less than a week after the match the Daily Record reported:

Rangers and SFA chiefs were last night at war amid claim and counterclaim over their VAR audio play-back session.

Gers chiefs James Bisgrove and Craig Robertson yesterday met with Hampden referees head Crawford Allan to go through the recording of the on-field back and forth between Saturday’s Old Firm Nick Walsh and telly official Willie Collum.

The furious Light Blues requested a sit down after demanding answers on the controversial decision which saw Philippe Clement’s side denied a Parkhead penalty during the 2-1 loss to Celtic. A club spokesman later claimed the meeting had reached an “overriding consensus” that the officials had made the WRONG call not pointing to the spot after replays showed Alistair Johnston clearly handling the ball in the box.

The SFA have chosen to make no comment in response but Record Sport understands Hampden chiefs strongly dispute the club’s account of the meeting with Allan.

Despite the separate rounds of interviews there wasn’t a single mention of the audio. Between the match against Hearts and Thursday’s appeal at Hampden it was announced that Crawford Allan is stepping down at the end of the season.

There has been rumours that the audio between Beaton and Robertson has been deleted, there will be fans that believe that version until they get to hear it for themselves, the silence on the issue is telling.

On his reaction to the ban, Rodgers said: “We are obviously disappointed with the outcome, but we respect the decision. My thanks go to the club for their unwavering support in helping us fight it but we respect our punishment and we move on.”

Asked whether he regretted his comments, Rodgers said: “No. I think there is just a misunderstanding of the interpretation really.”

And that was about it as far as the hearing went. Nothing was mentioned about how the split punishment was arrived at of Rodgers being banned from the dug-out at Livingston with a further one match suspension held over until the end of the season.

Was there sympathy from the panel over one of the decisions? Every week players go in high for the ball, Yang was stationary as Alex Cochrane charged at him, the previous week Theo Bair of Motherwell went unpunished for a head high challenge on Liam Scales. The Celtic winger had his appeal rejected and a two match suspension applied.

In February Beaton allowed Connor Goldson to go unpunished for a Kung-Fu style attack into the Livingston six yard box in the build up to the opening goal of the game from Fabio Silva.

Two days before Rodgers appeared at Hampden it was announced that Robertson will referee the Livingston v Celtic match, is first appointment since following Beaton’s orders at Tynecastle.

Eighteen referees have been in charge of Premiership matches, only the soon to depart Allan knows why he put Robertson back in charge of Celtic just as he is the only person to explain why Collum has gone 12 rounds of fixtures without being involved with Philippe Clement’s side. Today David Dickinson will be in charge of his third SPFL Premiership match involving the Ibrox club since the winter break.

And finally to Beaton, anyone paying attention will know that he celebrated his performance in a controversial Glasgow Derby in December 2018 by joining his pals in the Crown Bar in Bellshill for post match drinks.

From Albion Rovers to Celtic he seems to be very inconsistent in his application of the Laws of the Game, contrasting to how he treats incidents involving the club from Ibrox.

In January 2023 against Celtic he saw Goldson use both hands in the penalty area to block a shot from Carl Starfelt but decided not to award a penalty, earlier he was quickly pointing to the spot when Fashion Sakala dived into the Swede.

As a former regular in charge of the Glasgow Derby Beaton hasn’t refereed any of the last six, it seems to be between him and Nick Walsh to be in charge at Ibrox next Saturday.

Rodgers was recently asked about not signing Israeli players following the transfer of Liel Abada to FC Charlotte, yesterday it seems that no one asked his thoughts about Beaton being involved in any of Celtic’s remaining matches.

CLICK HERE for Celtic statement on Rodgers’ suspensions.

CLICK HERE for the Crawford Allan rumours.

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