Sunday, 25 October 2015


A bit of déjà vu in our media just now. I've banged on before about 'Refsgate', which is what the Daily Record called the situation in August/September 2008. Our media was in uproar because a couple of refereeing decisions had gone against Rangers. Meanwhile, Celtic benefitted from a couple of decisions going their way. There was uproar in the media; Chic Young came straight out and accused the referees of helping Celtic. After Walter Smith joined in, moaning about an offside decision, the SFA called a meeting to assure everyone that they would be pulling their socks up.

Fast-forward a couple of years and Dougie McDonald got caught out lying to Neil Lennon. The reaction of our media this time was a wonder to behold. Now they were against criticising our poor, hardworking referees. The men themselves went on strike, with all our media behind them 100 percent. Of course, Neil Lennon got the blame for the whole thing.

Since then it's been a brave man that's criticised a referee and anyone that did has been fined, banished from the dugout or both. Even when Celtic lost a place in the League Cup semi-final it was quickly swept under the carpet and Ronny Deila had to be careful what he said. Then we recently had the same again in a game against Motherwell; again, though, the referee's performance was hardly mentioned. As soon as 'Warbie' starts complaining, however, everybody suddenly sits up and takes notice.

Just like in 2008, our whistlers are under scrutiny and, yet again, a meeting was called to 'reassure' everyone that it's all going to be fine. Why wasn't 'Warbie' dragged before the beaks like other managers? Why, when they're talking about referees' 'mistakes' this season, does the failure to red-card the guy that brought down Odawa get top billing? No mention at all of the blatant foul in the penalty area and deliberate hand-ball in the Motherwell game. And, surprise, surprise, no mention whatsoever of all the penalties Sevco have been awarded this season. It seems we've only to be concerned about match officials when an Ibrox team is affected.

Is Warburton naïve enough to think that all the refereeing decisions going his team's way are deserved? It certainly seems that way. His call for technology to be brought into the game will have had the Heimlich Manoeuvre being employed up and down the land, in order to dislodge large pieces of succulent lamb. He honestly appears to believe that his team has been winning matches purely on merit. If video replays had been available since the start of this season then he'd be in for a huge shock. Or maybe not. No doubt the camera would have broken down. An honest mistake by the technician.

While the referees are being brought into line and, with Warburton's help, raising the bar to level 5, it seems that there's a crisis at Celtic Park. We all had a bit of a kneejerk reaction after Thursday's match, including me. I still think that maybe Deila's not the right man for the job, but it's hardly a crisis of John Barnes or Tony Mowbray proportions. The media/Level5 have, however, grabbed at this opportunity with both hands to deflect from the financial problems at Sevco. On Twitter, Keith Jackson is taking umbrage at being accused of following the Level 5 line. If he wants to avoid these accusations then his course is clear; start being a real journalist and look into the Sevco financial situation. Until he does that, he's nothing but Jabba's lapdog.

Meanwhile, with the Daily Record allowing comments again, The Peeppul are out in force. They know they've got nothing to cheer about yet, so all their energy is directed at having a go at Celtic. Laughably, while they're talking about Celtic 'downsizing' and slagging off Deila, they still insist that their team is 'stull Raynjurz'. Remarkably, they quote Neil Doncaster and the SFA as proof that this delusion is true, even though these are the same folk they're always contending are 'corrupt to the core'. It's worth reminding them when they try to substantiate these claims that there is currently a court case being held into the whole fiasco. This is a real court, with a real judge; not a judge earning pin money for saying what the SFA wants him to say!

My competition has caused some folk to go digging and coming up with qualifications I've never heard of before. I've actually never been to Switzerland, let alone go to business school there! Portpower got the answer wrong with 'First Hoose of Sevco Investment Bank'; but he's got the right idea about not getting bogged down in research. If I can paraphrase Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, in this instance, Google is not your friend. So have another go, or as many goes as you like. You've still got a week. Hopefully, I'll have the bloody book finished before then!

Finally, completely unrelated to anything, our rabbit shocked me the other day with how smart it is. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but we got landed with this house rabbit because of my daughter's capriciousness. She might be in her twenties and about to have a baby, but she's still like a two-year-old at times. The brute's name is Malibu, which I would have changed except for the fact that it knows and answers to the name. There's a large recess in the corner of the living room and that's been set aside as its area. It's welcome to roam the living room when we're around but it seems happy enough to jump about its own space. She's six now and still going strong.

Anyway, when I tidy up her area she always does a tour of inspection before eating, to make sure everything's back in place; if anything's wrong, she moves it herself to where it belongs. If I'm late feeding her, she chucks her dishes about to let us know that it's past the correct time. Every Friday she gets a treat; a plastic stick, which hooks onto the bars, covered in some crunchy, fruity stuff. She usually has it finished by Sunday and then ignores the plastic stick until I replace it. On Friday there I fell asleep in my chair and didn't waken up till two o'clock, well past her lunchtime. I tidied up and hoovered, and then put her food out. I forgot it was Friday so I didn't put a new fruit stick out. She did her usual tour of inspection and then started clanging the plastic stick off the bars to let me know it needed changed; something she's never done before. Now, I can understand that animals have a sort of built-in clock, by which they can gauge when it's dinner time. But how the hell did she know it was Friday? That's got me flummoxed, I can tell you!

How many did you score today, Waggy? What's that? Your opponents were professionals and the referee wouldn't give you a penalty? It's not fair, son. Still, your call-up for the England squad can't be far off!

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