Information on Referees in the SPL


As a welcome break from myself and Mahe,the following article is by REBUS67. I mean,you can tell right away that it’s not by me-just look at the amount of research that has gone into it!

The first 25 rounds of the SPL are examined in this analysis. Most of the data used were obtained from the Corner-Stats and the Sportinglife websites.

A variety of outputs from refereeing are examined, including, fouls and cards awarded, as well as the chances of a particular referee awarding a penalty. After 25 games there is considerable variation in the number of yellows handed out by SPL refs. However, to compare the referees propensity to issue yellows, we need to adjust for the number of matches that they refereed. Nick Walsh ref’d the most matches at 18, with Gavin Duncan only taking 3 games. So, the statistic examined is the average number of cards issued per game.

Andrew Dallas handed out the most cards with an average number of yellows per game of 5.1. He is followed by Nick Walsh(4.2), Kevin Clancy(4.1) and Greg Aitken(4.1).

Bobby Madden(2.6) had the lowest average number of yellows per game, and Craig Thomson was in the middle of the pack with 3.1 cards on average per game.

The number of reds varied from 0 from Gavin Duncan to 5 from Kevin Clancy. Both Bobby Madden and William Collum issued 4 red cards. When we adjust for the number of games ref’d we find that Kevin Clancy, Steven MacLean, and Willy Collum used the most reds on average per game. Andrew Dallas was in the middle of the pack.

What stands out is that Kevin Clancy tends to issue a lot of cards, both yellow and red. Whereas Bobby Madden is light on issuing yellows but heavy on reds. Andrew Dallas’ behaviour is the opposite: heavy on yellows but relatively lighter on reds.

When we look at the percentage of matches in which at least one penalty was awarded we again see substantial variation amongst the referees.

Andrew Dallas, Greg Aitken and Kevin Clancy awarded at least one penalty in 42-43% of their games. Bobby Madden was not far behind at 38%, whereas Gavin Duncan did not award any penalties. Amongst the rest, Willy Collum and Euan Anderson are the least likely to award penalties.

Looking at the average number of fouls per game(for both teams) awarded by our referees, we see more consistency if we eliminate the data for one referee, Gavin Duncan. He awarded an average of 18.7 fouls per game. At the other extreme, we have Steven McLean who awarded 26.7 fouls. However, most referees award a total of between 23-26 fouls per game. To illustrate what this means, 23 fouls in a game means one is happening every 4 minutes, whereas a foul count of 26 means the game is stopped every 3.5 minutes….not conducive to a free flowing game. Thomson, Robertson and Clancy tend to be more conservative in awarding fouls, whereas Muir, Dallas and Collum tend to have relatively high foul counts.

None of the above can be used to suggest that referees are showing preference. What the above analysis does show is that there is considerable variation across referees in some of the categories of punishment(cards, and penalties). After 25 matches most referees should have invigilated a variety of teams so one would expect some consistency to emerge, but the data does not support that.

One statistic that may shed some light upon the fair treatment of teams by particular referees is the difference in the number of fouls awarded to each team within a game. It is not a perfect measure of even handedness but over a number of matches, the average may provide a measure of fairness. A small difference in fouls awarded could indicate that the ref is applying a consistent approach to both teams, whereas a large difference may be indicative of a bias towards one team. As already said, it is not a perfect measure of bias, because one team may be outclassed by another and might resort to fouling to frustrate the superior team. However, over a number of matches the average difference in fouls might reasonably be expected to indicate consistent refereeing. The referees that produced the largest differences in the awarding of fouls, after adjusting for the number of matches ref’d, were:

  1. Alan Muir
  2. Willy Collum
  3. Andrew Dallas
  4. Greg Aitken
  5. Don Robertson
  6. The refs with the smallest adjusted differences in awarding fouls were:
  7. Craig Thomson
  8. John Beaton and Euan Anderson
  9. Steven Maclean
  10. Nick Walsh

Craig Thomson awarded exactly the same total fouls to each pair of teams that he refereed.

Of course, it is not just the number of fouls that is important, it is when these fouls are awarded, and whereabouts on the park they are awarded that really matters. It would be a monumental job to collect that type of information.

As mentioned above, the difference in fouls awarded, at best, can only be one measure of consistent refereeing. It would be wrong to use it in isolation.

Many Celtic fans will be more interested in how their club compares to Sevco. Here is a brief statistical summary, based upon the first 25 games of the league, 2018-19.
Fouls ​​……….249…………….312

The table speaks for itself.

  1. the average points/game that Celtic and Sevco obtained from each ref.
  2. the average number of fouls/game that Celtic and Sevco obtained from each ref.
  3. the average number of yellow cards/game that Celtic and Sevco obtained from each ref.
  4. the average number of red cards/game that Celtic and Sevco obtained from each ref.
  5. On average Celtic accrued more points than Sevco did for the following refs:
    Collum, Thomson, Robertson.
  6. On the other hand, Sevco obtained more points than Celtic under these refs:
    Clancy, Dallas, Beaton.
  7. Celtic and Sevco both obtained on average 3 points per game under Bobby Madden. Steven McLean was not included because he had not ref’d any Celtic games at this point in the season.
  8. Which refs produced the largest spread of points between the two clubs? The answer is John Beaton who returned the maximum average of 3 points per game for Sevco, but only an average of 1 point for Celtic. Willy Collum is next, providing an average of 3 points per game for Celtic and 1.5 points for Sevco. The third largest spread is provided by Dallas who generated an average of 2.3 points/game for Sevco compared to 1 point for Celtic.
  9. The Overall Picture

  10. Finally, each of 7 SPL refs were compared on how they adjudicated both Celtic and Sevco across the four criteria mentioned above(Points, Fouls, Yellows, and Reds).

  11. The following was assumed:
    More points is better than less;
    Less fouls/game is better
    Less Yellows and Reds/game is better.
    Two referees stood out from the rest in that across all four criteria their adjudications consistently favoured one team.
  12. In Sevco games ref’d by Andrew Dallas compared to Celtic games that he ref’d:
    On average, less yellow and red cards were awarded to Sevco;
    less fouls were awarded, on average;
    and Sevco scored more points than Celtic, on average
  13. Similarly, in Celtic games ref’d by Don Robertson compared to Sevco games that he ref’d:
    less yellow and red cards, on average were awarded to Celtic;
    less fouls were awarded, on average;
    and Celtic scored more points than Sevco, on average.
  14. John Beaton’s performance has been of interest lately. In terms of this analysis, there is no real evidence that he has operated in a biased manner. On average, he has awarded slightly less fouls/game for Celtic. He has not awarded any red cards to either team and there is not much of a difference in yellows/game for the two teams. The only key difference in the games ref’d by Beaton is that, on average, Sevco emerged with 3 points/game, and Celtic with 1.
  15. *
  16. Grateful thanks to REBUS67 for this article. The research and prose is his,the syntax errors-mainly a strange preponderance for numbers to appear beside paragraphs-are mine. As I dunno how it happened,I can’t clear the bloody things either!

If you would like to send us an article for me to screw up when I c&p it,give it a go on

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A few statistical anomalies in your summary of the season so far,eh? No wonder the huns were so happy to get rid of Collum,he’d have them relegated if he reffed them every week! I’m thinking of starting a petition…

Btw,it’s very interesting indeed that one of Scotland’s “top refs”,Stevie McLean,hasn’t had a sniff yet this season. I wonder if Celtic have had a quiet word?

If so,my congratulations for a good piece of work.

I posted this just gone midnight,a link to two fascinating but damning articles in The Guardian.

Looks like the romantic vision of The Beautiful Game is dead. The following articles would make you weep.

big packy

HI REBUS one word awesome,,fantastic piece of research into the world of the men in black,cap doffed.hh.


REBUS sent it to us via e-mail. As have various people when they send an article for publication,and Rebus has done it a few times too.

This one did not c&p properly,but I hope that the article is pretty much there for all to behold.


Dr Rebus.
A fabulous insight and a most interesting read.
Thank you for all the had work you put into that article.
Hail Hail.
P.S. I wish I could have had a bet on Madden and his yellow cards. His style of refereeing is from a bygone age and should have no place in modern football. He ends up having to issue reds, as the players know they are getting away with murder and it ends up being out of control.
Hail Hail

A thing of beauty

Fantastic piece of work rebus. I salute you and the amount of time that must have taken. I agree with JNP that the reason madden has to issue reds is he is far too lenient and I also think statistically we get lots of fouls once the game is no longer a contest. Whilst the other team are still in it most tackles are deemed fair, once we are two up with say 20 minutes to go the refs start giving fouls. I’m afraid I just think we are reffed differently from the other teams in the league and that is the evidence of my own eyes on a weekly basis.

Quality research Rebus.

Thanks everyone! I tried to limit the amount of dry numbers in it. There is a lot more that could be presented but enough is enough.

Enjoy your day and the game tomorrow.



Great article Rebus and kudos to you for the research ,diligence and non judgmental article on an emotive subject for us Celtic fans.
Unfortunately it would only be ridiculed as the paranoid view of a Celtic fan rather than a fact laden article by the corrupt authorities and mssm in the unlikely event they acknowledged it’s existence.


Thats a high quality post and as usual your profession shines through to our benefit.
Many fascinating insights .
The man in black has always been contentious , and I include Johhny Cash by the way ! Ps I drive past Folsom prison where he made that famous recording ( a wish I was there moment )
I know Big Jock said just score more than the opposition or words to that effect but we really in this day and age should not be asking for fair refs it should be part of a professionally run transparent with the fans onside game .
Of course while most of the modern world is capable of moving forward , some are not , and it seems our club of choice are mired in a land and people that prefer the past ? Or at least not the everyones equal and free future that the masses would wish for .
We all know the refs are a part of the problem but are they the men with their finger in the dyke holding back the tide or just useful but ultimately collateral if necessary ?
And then you cant complain above your Fa’s head to headquarters about refs because look whos there but old bigot himself Dallas.
Caught in a trap ! Who can we turn to in this situation ? The refs wont change , the governing bodies wont change.
The Plc can hardly call for a boycott that would reduce their own earnings , thats against policy and sackable surely .
Therefore in reality its down to the fans to say enough . Its a decent game or hasta la vista baby as Arnie oft said.
Problem is , at least on our side , the fans groups and the influential fans would need to unite for such an event ,, and that event might need a catalyst not just a general enoughs enough.
Auldheid was alluding to that catalyst being a bent title heading to Ibrox. Perhaps hes right.

The fans are very split though and I doubt theres one single person among the fans that the masses would all listen to in terms of taking actual action .
The supporters association should be the vehicle leading the call imo or a new vehicle set up.
The Geordies recently united to take action against their unwanted owner ,, why cant our fans unite ?
Perhaps thats a good article ?

Many many thanks Rebus , fantastic work my man ! Stay warm ! Hail Hail


This morning i am watching Schalke v Freiburg and Schalke who are clear favorites and dominating the possession stats but posing zero threat to the Freiburg goal.
During one other tippy tappy slow moving forward foray they left themselves with no other option than a long range poor shot that sailed over.One commentator who was English said that was hopeful and the German co commentator responded hopeful or desperate?
He then went on to say how Schalke’s purposeless possession curtailed their chance of success.

Anyone who knows my posting history on another site will know where i stand on this.
The hardest part of Thursday’s defeat for me was that it met my expectation.
A day before the game a fellow blogger was showing Valencia’s stats in La Liga and was confidently predicting a victory for Celtic.I responded by saying that although we have shown some improvement there was still vulnerabilities and lapses plus our history in Europe under Brendan and Ronnie did not support his confidence.
Another blogger who i’ve had a few debates with on coaching and tactics then want on to say that Valencia’s synchronicity was exceptional as defense, mid and attack all moved as one.
This brought a wry smile from me as i have often stated to much derision that we are not a complete unit due to our incredibly poor spacing with way to much space conceded in the central areas due to the lack of ability on our coaches part to properly implement our playing system.
In my opinion our coaches have failed to recognize the importance of off the ball play and movement with their fixation on possession.
When we lose possession our headless chicken routine is testament to such.
And there was a video on here yesterday from Valencia game that perfectly demonstrated our total lack of anticipation and positive thought that our possession above all mantra has created.
I feel incredibly sad that i do not believe in our team in Europe not because of players or finance but that our coaching flaws are a liability against better tactically prepared opponents.
Brendan and his coaching staff are good but limited and our opponents in the spl are for the most part not savvy enough to take advantage of our flawed system.
At the seasons end if we have European ambitions then there has to be coaching changes but since our custodians seem fixated only on a Celtic/huns duopoly then i think we will be limited and expectations management to go into overdrive.


Obscurity is a goal I have pursued most of my life!


Really hope we win tomorrow.
Top of the table would look like this:

Celtic – 60
Sevco – 52
Aberdeen – 47
Kilmarnock- 46

It’s just that damned carpet at Rugby Park that worries me.

Rebus et all.
Many years ago I came across a stat that started with the population of the UK, it took away all those who were pensioners, all those under the age of 16, all those who were in the armed forces, in jail, etc etc, I honestly can’t recall everything but when I read it, it made perfect sense, it ended up with that there was one, [1] person eligible to work in the country, ever since then stats have always bugged me 😉
Please don’t think I don’t appreciate your research cos I do, problem is, stats don’t account for the game management of refs, IMO, brother thompson is the best in scotland at game management, he knows when to break up our play and allow us frees in non threatening positions, other refs are just so blatant it’s embarrassing, I have never believed that their is a conscious conspiracy against us, but referees who are from a hun background have a DNA that is inherent anti Celtic, they can’t help it, it’s just the way it is, add in the institutional bias against us we are up against it, just to cap things off, our custodians are perfectly happy with the status quo, so in effect we are fecked, big time, yet we manage to accumulate baubles, just imagine if we really did have a level playing field, this imo is why we don’t as we would win everything and hence there would be no competition and no money for those who run the game, as ever it comes done to the filthy lucre.

TET, The one person who was eligible to work in the country was me. But I have retired now so it’s someone else’s turn now.


Jim enjoy your well earned rest.
TET it’s always about the money and the fact of us as permanent winners would lead to a massive decline in Scottish football and therefor less money has merit.
Rather than have change in an attempt to create a fair and competitive league the authorities have shown they would rather manage it to terminal decline.So far their plan is working.
Even financial armageddon will be mitigated by the end of Timmy as well.

Well it’s no me either now as I gave up the work a fair few years ago 😉
As an aside, this is delicious, Slippy’s after match reaction today.

A thing of beauty

Bobby On the off chance that you are reading this can you call me please about Valencia. Ta

I can well remember when scottish players were the backbone of english football, when did it stop ?
That’s a genuine question, I believe the decline in scotland started when Souness took over at the hun, he started all the importing players as opposed to bringing our own through, clubs attempted to follow suit but all it did was destroy the youth set ups at all the clubs, it’s slowly coming back but 30 years on we are still not producing the players, add in the governing bodies are doing nothing to promote flair players, it’s all about the cluggers, see if the huns decided tomorrow morning that they wanted to play an expansive ball controlling flair passing game where footballers could play the game, I bet my grandweans life’s that the powers that B would change overnight to accommodate them, how sad is that, but I do believe it.
I agree, they would see the game gone if it took Timmy down with it.

big packy

jimthetim and tet, you lazy so and so’s im 66, and still doing 24 hour shifts ???.hh.

I will have you know I work harder now than I have ever done 😉

big packy

THE EXILEDTIM, I know you do pal, hope you and yours are well.hh.

As well as, and yous


McLean bottles it at Ibrox by not giving his heroes a pen. Wtf is going on ?

big packy

GORDON64, maybe he has seen the light.hh ??


I am considering doing a time and area analysis of the game tomorrow, but no promises. It would take probably about 2.5 hours + to record the data.


I understand that he reffed the game quite fairly today and the huns are beelin about it.
He did let a Defoe elbow go right enough

Sol Kitts

Quality piece of work. Kudos for the time and effort you put into this article.
A study of where on the pitch, and when individual fouls are awarded would be instructive, and without having solid data my gut feeling is that refs in our games try to break up the play when the score is level or we are behind. We seem to get a lot of free-kicks in relatively benign areas of the pitch, and much fewer in dangerous areas. 50/50s tend to go with us when we’re breaking forward, but still in our own half. They tend to go against us when defending the same part of the pitch.
I look forward to your analysis, if only to prove my gut feelings wrong or otherwise.

Margaret McGill

A good site to complement Rebus67’s article can be found here:
lots of good info.once you know how to navigate around.

So another hun goaless draw today. Looks like they really need Moreolos.
No wonder Rangers appealed all his red cards. A typical latino street thug not adverse to ultraviolence, cheating and MIB protected. In the mould of El Hadji Diouff.Both vile repugnant specimens of humanity. Perfect huns.

Remember that Van Morrison line, …….”if my heart could do the thinking, and my head could only feel……”

We can always hope that Celtic will overcome all the odds and triumph by three goals to zero in Valencia next week. However, the heid says otherwise.

Expectations were ruled by the heart and not the head for this two leg affair.

If we look at the squad values for La Liga teams compared to that of Celtic, we would be placed Girona and Leganes in 13th position out of 20 teams. Valencia are fourth in terms of value.

Leganes sit 12th in the league on points which is a good performance for them, whereas the more expensive Girona squad are in the16th spot. Valencia are in 9th spot.

So from the off, Valencia were heavy favourites to win this tie. For me, or Pour moi, the disappointment centres around our inept performance, not the result.

I hope we give a good account of ourselves in Valencia, but the heid is saying the tie is over.

On our style of play, what do you think about a team, playing at home, having 61% possession, but only 1 shot on target? Sounds like Celtic doesn’t it? However, it is Sevco at home against ST J today! Still they did not lose by two goals.


Love that song/video. I swear if I was driving past that guy with the sign I’d crash the car. Unbelievable.

Gordon64 Star Guitar by the Chemical Brothers

Gordon64–52k-g After All (I live my life) Frankie Miller

Cosy corner bhoy

Excellent article surpassed only by Der Hun result! Only kidding ?.Watched highlights and other analyses and thought on the night were correct.Slow of thought and reaction we were,but the quality of ball delivered was superb.
BTW,result today means nothing if we don’t produce our own tomorrow.Will miss game due setting out for Valencia but both daughters will be there.COYBIG.

Sol Kitts

Enjoy your trip, CCB. Hope the team do something special for you.

Gordon64 Big bad John by Jimmy Dean

Gordon64 Dino sings Little old wine drinker me. The coolest man ever behind Cosy Corner Bhoy. Hh

The Gombeen Man


Another fabulous piece of work.

On another note.

…It looks like Stevie G’s motivational skills need some coaching…

big packy

good morning bhoys, everyone in bed, well ill bore you all to death with a Kilmarnock story, bobby knows this one ive told hm umpteen times, if he reads this he will say oh no not the Kilmarnock story, anyway think it would have been the 69/70 season travelled down with my 2 older cousins, in them days away games kicked off at the proper time on a Saturday 3 pm,as we were travelling down there had been an accident on the 77 so we were late, only had about ten minutes to get in before kick off, suddenly these 2 big polis jump out and flag us down, maybe because of our green and white scarves hanging out the windows, anyway these bassas knew we had only a few minutes to get into the ground, checked my cousins licence, mot certificate all in order, then he starts going round the car looking underneath, then gets in the car putting his big flat feet on the brake pedals and pumping them up and down, ok sir everything seems to be fine you can go on your way, time 3-25 so by the time we got into rugby park we had missed the first half, if we had red white and blue scarves hanging out the windows, would they have done the same.hh.

OK Packy, but what was the score!!!!

Cosy corner bhoy

Not very keen on green and white in Ayrshire Packy?

big packy

cant remember jim but im sure we won.hh.

big packy

hi ccb yes your probably right.hh.

Talking about green.

I noticed yesterday on CQN that in some posters competition BMCUWP had opted for Forest Green. I knew nothing about this club but liked the name. So I looked them up.

They are very eco friendly. Their sponsors. They use solar panels to supply a lot of the stadiums electricity. They are the first Vegan club! All stadium catering, players, staff and fan’s outlets are meat free. They have plans for a new stadium which will be eco friendly, using mainly wood. They will plant loads of trees and shrubbery around the new ground. They use a solar powered robotic grass cutter for the pitch.

That’s what you call GREEN! 🙂

I have to admit I raised my eyebrows at the use of wood in a new stadium, given some disasters in the past with wooden stands. I don’t know enough about what they mean in the ‘use of wood’ in their plans. But I suppose they will be very aware of potential dangers.
Now there is no smoking is also something important. And proper safe standing is a way forward.

big packy

jim maybe we should change our name to forrest green celtic,???

BP, What is your prediction for today? I’m going for 3-0 to the bhoys. We have to restore our pride. 🙂

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