23 Feb 19
The Scottish Sun
AFTER an action-packed Aberdeen v Rangers game a few weeks ago — all the fun was sucked out of it the very next morning with a full-blown post-mortem.
Totally fed-up with appeals, compliance, retrospective disciplinary action, and all that tiresome nonsense, I wished we could stop re- refereeing games, and just try to enjoy the fitba’.
Neil Doncaster has held talks with government officials and those at the SFA about Strict Liability
In fact, forget ‘petty & ill-informed’ — our new motto on Off The Ball (and it’s a phrase we all had drummed into us as kids) is Play To The Whistle.
No harm to Clare Whyte but the referee’s decision (hopefully aided sooner rather than later by VAR) is final.
Sounds great, eh?
And starting on today’s programme — in a valiant effort to give us a welcome break from tit-for-tat tedium — we’re also banning the W-word . . . WHATABOUTERY.
Both Killie manager Steve Clarke and striker Kris Boyd have been targeted by bigots this week
This week we had two well-documented events — Kris Boyd being struck with a coin and called a “sad orange b*****d” by Celtic fans before his Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke was given the “sad Fenian b*****d” treatment by the crowd at Ibrox.
This presents us with the perfect opportunity to put this tosh to bed.
Whataboutery? Nope, there’s no need to dredge up ancient history and go over the same old ground, thanks very much.
Let’s just act on the two unsavoury episodes that occurred in the past six days.
And (deep breath) let’s have a bash at Strict Liability.
Dave King released a strongly worded statement to condemn the Gers fans who sang about Steve Clarke
Yep, I know the very notion of our clubs being directly responsible for their fans’ behaviour was booted out in 2013.
And in terms of turkeys voting for Christmas, I doubt Peter Lawwell and Dave King would sign up for Strict Liability.
Quite frankly, there’s more chance of the Old Firm chiefs signing up for Strictly Come Dancing.
However, at the end of a hellish few days, please tell me Kilmarnock will be happy to bring it back to the table? To be honest, I don’t know what Rangers and Celtic have to fear.
Both clubs continually insist the sectarian stuff comes from a “tiny minority” of their support (no giggling at the back, please).
Peter Lawell is the Celtic Chief Executive
With Strict Liability in place — and a wee bit of self-policing — surely the “vast majority” won’t stand back and allow their club to be heavily fined or docked points?
And you know what? With a few teething problems guaranteed, I’d even allow a “three strikes and you’re out” approach.
Surely the decent fans on both sides of the Old Firm divide want to emerge from the “dark ages” as Clarke called it?
If we humour the fantasists who insist the Glasgow derby is the biggest fixture on Planet Football (for the last time, stop giggling at the back!) you can only imagine what the rest of the world thinks of both clubs this week.
Kris Boyd was also struck by a coin from a Celtic fan last Sunday
It all came to a head on Wednesday night when we SHOULD have been waxing lyrical about Alfredo Morelos’ incredible four-goal haul against Killie.
The wee Colombian gets a hard time for his moody demeanour — but he was entitled to be as crabbit as hell when the spotlight switched to the silly stuff.
Rangers made all the right noises the following morning about not tolerating unacceptable behaviour at Ibrox and doing everything to eradicate this kind of behaviour.
But we’ve heard it all before, from both sides of the Old Firm, and that could have been a statement from 30 years ago.
Fair play to Dave King and Steven Gerrard for making their own feelings crystal clear, but we need action — NOW — starting with an immediate ban on the “cheer up” song that’s caused so much grief.
The headlines should’ve been about Alfredo Morelos on Wednesday night not sectarianism
If it’s not stopped on sectarian/bigotry grounds, then perhaps — and I’m now clutching at straws — as a mark of respect to Peter Tork of The Monkees who sadly passed away this week.
Also, if the clubs are serious about weeding out the eejits who shame their name, surely that’s an easy process in the era of all-ticket matches and CCTV?
SFA chief Ian Maxwell and his SPFL counterpart Neil Doncaster apparently had recent talks with the Cabinet Secretary and the Sports Minister, but the time for chit-chat is over.
I think political intervention will only work if the Scottish Government INSISTS on Strict Liability. And then we can all just get back to talking about the football.
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Or do you think I’m just a Daydream Believer . . . ?
PS Don’t know about you, but I still can’t make my mind up on the Eamonn Brophy penalty claim for Kilmarnock or goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann’s red card.
So, if there’s one other thing to take out of the game at Ibrox it’s that we must introduce VAR.
And here’s a crazy idea.
Let’s finance the expensive new technology with all the fines from Strict Liability.
PPS I read yesterday that a lion who was called MoJo had died after being attacked at a safari park in Merseyside.
MoJo? Please tell me this wasn’t another sectarian attack!
A NINE-MONTH gap in his playing career for Scott McDonald, who hung up his boots at Dundee United in May 2018 and returned to goalscoring form with Partick Thistle last Saturday.
But here’s one for my fellow SunSport columnist Jim Duffy.
Neil emailed to say: “I was at Duff’s testimonial when he retired through injury in 1988. Two years later, he was back playing. I never did get my cash back . . . ”
IN recent years at Parkhead, I must admit that Motherwell have been rogered more often than a policeman’s walkie-talkie.
And it’s foolish to even think about getting a result tomorrow when you consider the HUGE financial gap between the clubs.
But after making it six league wins on the bounce against Hearts last Sunday — thanks to headline-grabbing displays from Jake Hastie, David Turnbull and Jambos’ goalie Colin Doyle (a hideous,
late blunder in The Cammy Bell End) — I fancy our chances.
In fact, with one eye on the visit to Rugby Park in midweek, I’m going to stick my neck out and predict we’ll do Eight-in-a-Row before Celtic . . .
What an amazing achievement that would be!
Memo to Well boss Stevie Robinson: Do you realise we still have one remaining stand at Fir Park not named after anyone?
WALK ON Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says he had to hide from Orange walk a week after moving to Glasgow
BEST debut I’ve ever witnessed from a footballer?
Ex-Motherwell keeper Craig McLean’s performance when he trod the boards for the very first time this week at A Play, A Pie and A Pint in Glasgow’s Oran Mor.
A number of players have dabbled in the acting profession — Jordan Jones, Scott Sinclair, Jermain Defoe — but I reckon young Craig will make a career of it after his dazzling display in A Respectable Widow Takes To Vulgarity.
It ends in Glasgow today before enjoying a run at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen from Tuesday and I urge you to give it a bash.
NO losers in Valencia this week.
Celtic returned home with their pride intact after a very decent performance, the fans got a bit of sun on their backs and plenty of beer in their bellies . . . and the club even got a wee financial bonus.
Yep, with the travelling support having nothing to celebrate, no bill for any broken seats!
PS. As the culture vultures in the large travelling support will know, Valencia lays claim to being the home of the chalice that JC used to serve wine to his disciples at The Last Supper.
According to legend, the Big Man stood up and said: “I shall now turn the water into wine . . . ”
And a voice at the back shouted: “Haw! Get your fiver in the kitty like everybody else!”
COURTESY of regular readers Ian Taylor and John Bookless, here’s a few more sitcoms starring footballers . . .
Rangers and Celtic — Love Thy Neighbour.
Stevie May — Whatever Happened To The Likely Lad?
Scott McDonald and Kenny Miller — Still Game.
The Rangers’ forward line when Morelos is suspended — The Thin Blue Line.
VAR — You Are Being Swerved.
Also, not really a sitcom, but Alex Peddie says: “Don’t forget Jamie Carragher and Spitting Image . . . ”
CHELSEA have been banned from bringing in any new players until next summer. A bit harsh, but I’m sure they’ll get by with the 584 players who are already on their books, eh?
Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers from Scottish football plus fixtures, results and live match commentary
[bc_video video_id=”6005214673001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Rangers fan tells talkSPORT’s Jim White it’s acceptable to be sectarian during 90-minute football match “]