The BIG push

I’ve been loath to mention the recent referring controversies, that topic has been very well covered here and elsewhere.
Yesterday has changed that.
Another Goldson handball, another biased decision, only this one took the proverbial biscuit. Arm moving towards ball (who you trying to kid BBC) followed by a clear deflection, it screamed penalty or a VAR check at a minimum.
The whistler waved play on.
It’s clear to all there’s shenanigans afoot, the helping hand is delivered to the same team weekly, only now it’s brazen.
This week however the whistlers are at ‘home’. Already emboldened by the media and Hampdens protection, the moment has arrived to fully flex the muscles and ensure the establishment team make it through this tie and into the final.
That is surely the ultimate objective here. It will take a miracle for Aberdeen to emerge victorious.
Of course the previous day the officials have the opportunity to have a say in who their favoured team shall meet back at Hampden. Coming off the back of criticism by our Greek Australian leader, it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith to imagine the bent calls ratcheting up a notch when it comes to the league leaders.
It’s one thing being denied a league penalty, it’s another altogether to be cheated out of a Cup, and the men in black have two opportunities if needed.
As sure as James Bond gets the girl, this weekend shall see a big push to deliver the League Cup trophy to Ibrox, helping them financially whilst giving off the impression of a competitive setup north of the border.
Yet this BIG push could start a snowball, which starts an avalanche.
The referee’s controversy can’t continue forever, it must end at some stage, yet the whistlers won’t willingly give up their new found powers. But in their hubris and supposed invincibility they fail to recognize there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed for the risk of inflaming the masses, that pushing the limit to extremes can backfire. Deciding where the Cup goes is one such line.
Screwing over Ange is another. Our leader is extremely popular and in a position of strength, yet is likely to face backlash for having the temerity to go public with his viewpoints.
It’s somewhat ironic but a BIG push by the refs is likely to be met by a BIG push by supporters who can only swallow so much.
Letters (ahem) and speaking out have been ignored. Serious action by member clubs is the next rung on the ladder.
This weekend presents a massive potential flashpoint and could provide the spark that sets off the explosion.
The weekend fixtures are now huge with extra scrutiny on every decision.
Will they behave?
Will they punish?
How low can they go?
Not much further to be honest.
By Mahe

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January 9, 2023 4:58 am


Good evening, friends.
A game of 2 halves in the sense that the first 45 was pretty uninspiring whilst the 2nd could and should have really seen us score 5 or 6 goals. But 3 points and another clean sheet saw us leave the stadium 12 points clear.
A game devoid of controversy with Celtic comfortably in control throughout the 90 minutes. It’s fair to say that at half time it really was anyone’s guess as to who would be making it into everyone’s top 3 (or perhaps the 3 least average?) players. But a few of our heroes upped their game in the second half leaving us all reasonably entertained by full time.
On the subject of VAR interventions, I think it is worth nothing that we have maintained our 9 point lead at the top despite the best efforts of the officials in penalising Celtic. Whilst there have already been a good number of decisions favouring the opposition (or at least not favouring Celtic) the outcome of the Celtic matches haven’t yet been affected, with the sole exception being last Monday’s game against Triggers Broom FC. Sevco FC have however been treated very favourably in the 11 games since VAR was introduced.

Domestically we have now played 23, winning 21, drawing 1 and losing just 1. We have scored 73 and conceded 17.
Thanks to the 70 who emailed me with their 3 nominations. Special mention to the sender of the 2000th email for this season, Gerry Devlin!
The total votes cast for each player with my own choices asterisked are as follows –
Hart: 0
Johnston*: 35
Carter-Vickers*: 48
Starfelt: 11
Bernabei: 1
McGregor*: 5
Hatate: 63
Mooy: 5
Jota: 5
Kyogo: 2
Maeda: 34

Abada: 0
Giakoumakis: 1
O’Riley: 0
Turnbull: 0
Forrest: 0

And so the players receiving POINTS for the game against Kilmarnock are –
Hatate – 5 pts
Carter-Vickers – 4 pts
Johnston – 3 pts
Maeda – 2 pts
Startfelt – 1 pt

Congratulations to Reo Hatate on winning his 9th Man Of The Match award, even if I didn’t vote for him myself, d’oh!!

And after 29 games the overall standings are as shown below –
65 points – Hatate
45 points – Carter-Vickers
38 points – Taylor
34 points – Jota
28 points – McGregor and O’Riley
24 points – Mooy
23 points – Abada
22 points – Jenz
20 points – Kyogo
15 points – Haksabanovic
13 points – Giakoumakis, Maeda and Starfelt
12 points – Juranovic
10 points – Ralston
9 points – Bernabei and Welsh
8 points – Forrest
6 points – Johnston
5 points – Turnbull
4 points – Hart
0 points – Abildgaard, McCarthy, Siegrist and Vata

Our next game is next Saturday evening when we play our League Cup Semi Final against Kilmarnock at Hampden Park with a 5.30pm kick off.
Hail Hail!

Jobo Baldie
January 9, 2023 8:40 am

Good morning, friends.
I agree with all you say, Mahe. Even though it wasn’t used in the earlier rounds, Inassume that VAR will feature in the semi finals. The following week sees the Scottish Cup resume and, again, I assume that VAR will be in play but only for those ties played at the grounds of Premiership teams where there are sufficient cameras in place?
Anyway, in my opinion whether or not VAR is in place is immaterial as I dont see it being either advantageous or disadvantageous. 10 or 11 games after it came into Scottish Football and nothing has changed with VAR in terms of our long held justifiablenparanoia over refereeing decisions.

Prestonpans bhoys
January 9, 2023 9:42 am

I think it’s immaterial whether var is used this weekend or not. I would suggest we are now at the stage where officials are terrified about giving the first penalty against the huns.

I’m no giving it……someone said last week…..

A thing of beauty
January 9, 2023 9:45 am

In my opinion VAR has made it worse. It is supposed to take the honest mistakes out the game yet now all we are seeing is the same as before – dishonest mistakes. Yet when Celtic supporters or managers raise concerns we are accused of being paranoid. There was an article by Gary Keown I think in the mail which I did not read but the gist seemed to be that Ange was “irritable” as if this was a problem. This is a guy who has managed at the highest level and is not renowned for calling out refs. He asked for consistency across all teams but because we know that infers a bias to the Huns he’s irritable and we’re paranoid. There is an issue in Scottish football with biased refs and it is in the spotlight more than ever. Stats are coming out week on week to prove it. We must not shy away from this. Celtic have to keep going for the jugular until we rid our game of the Hugh Dallas disciples.

January 9, 2023 9:47 am

Good morning Sentinelcelts one and all.
My sincere thanks to all for their kind words on yesterday‘s blog. It was a bit embarrassing checking in yesterday to see that the place was pretty much clogged up with condolence messages. I really appreciate all of the kind words and thoughts.
This site really is a special place.
Hail Hail , Frodshambhoy

January 9, 2023 10:32 am

Good article but can’t share your optimism on a solution being forthcoming.

The weekend fixtures are now huge with extra scrutiny on every decision.- Not by the media or SFA!
Will they behave?- No!
Will they punish? -Only opponents to their aims and agenda..
How low can they go? -As long as they want to in an environment where they and their brethren along with mssm partners make up rules to suit with impunity.
Not much further to be honest.- The distance is infinite to the sleekit,sniggering cheats that control Scottish football and their media partners.

Only outside interference would change anything and corrupt UEFA will not draw attention to themselves.
A completely new environment would be our only realistic chance for change.

January 9, 2023 10:34 am


The problem referees have created for themselves is that in the instance it was a clear hand ball not given at Tynecastle or it was not a deliberate hand ball by Bernabie or O Reilly but penalty given ,that every instance of a Rangers player involved in a handball incident is viewed as a penalty instance.

I dont think Goldson handled the ball deliberately, yesterday and had a penalty been awarded against us taking that incident in isolation, I would not have been happy.

What VAR has done is to keep memories of previous hand ball instances fresh in supporters minds by being captured then replayed to refresh memory.

What the referee fraternity need to consider is either making every hand ball a penalty regardless of circumstances or not giving penalties when a player has no idea where the ball is when it hits his hand. To be a deliberate attempt to thwart a goal scoring opportunity a player has to know where the ball is.

Deliberation, which is a referee judgement, seems to have been taken out of the equation and less experienced refrees are more likely to stick to the letter of the law than exercise judgement.

Of the two choices I think refs should be told to take deliberation into account and have VAR to help their decision. Had that been done in case of Bernabie and O Reily and Goldson yesterday and other incidents involving Rangers I think we would not be at the point where the only reason for inconsistency is cheating.

Sol Kits views on my thinking would be helpful.

The Leopard’s Rimshot
January 9, 2023 10:36 am


‘ Celtic have to keep going for the jugular until we rid our game of the Hugh Dallas disciples.’

I wonder how their ‘complaint to the SFA’ was dealt with last week?

Weird that they haven’t told us …

A thing of beauty
January 9, 2023 10:49 am

No surprise to me or you I’m sure that we haven’t heard anything from the board. We only ever hear from them when they want our cash or an informing us of another fait accompli appointment where all corporate governance and good business practice is fired out the window. Remember Iain Bankier telling us just to be quiet and behave ourselves. Parasite.

The Leopard’s Rimshot
January 9, 2023 10:54 am

Oh, I remember ATOB.

The only time the Celtic support ever heard a peep out that mouse man was when he was insulting us.

So I guess that despite all the trumpeting in a few blogs last week that the board were going to complain to the SFA about VAR they either couldn’t be arsed getting round to complaining or they just can’t be arsed telling us the answer.

The Leopard’s Rimshot
January 9, 2023 11:13 am

As for the ridiculous claim that ‘Goldson didn’t see the ball’ it’s evident from this clip that he was watching the ball all the way as it was swung in and deliberately kept his arm where it was so as to divert the ball outwards off the body of the Dundee United player.

A blatant penalty.

January 9, 2023 11:26 am


That was how I saw it at the time yesterday too. Masterful. Watch how he puts his arm into the path of the ball-then hurriedly withdraws it. One might think,if one were so inclined,that he had tried to move his arm out of the way.

Quite the opposite,in fact.

As I’ve said before,give them an inch and they will take a liberty.

The Leopard’s Rimshot
January 9, 2023 11:26 am
The Leopard’s Rimshot
January 9, 2023 11:28 am

Agreed, Bobby, it’s so well done it’s almost like he’s been practicing.

bada Bing 1
January 9, 2023 12:32 pm

Roberto Martinez new Portugal manager……..this guy must interview well……

January 9, 2023 12:37 pm

Since it’s pretty clear that diving is worked on in the Ibrox training regime then it stands to reason that getting away with hand ball would also be practiced .
The leniency and latitude afforded sevco so far would make it an easy skill to master.
In video it’s clear he see’s flight of ball and puts arm in direction of then cleverly pulls it back into his body when desired contact to push ball away from opponent was made.

January 9, 2023 12:40 pm

Considering the scoreline in both matches was the same, these contrasting headlines on BBC Scotland’s website, tells you all you need to know about their leanings:-

. “Rangers ‘up quality ‘ after break to ease aside Utd”

. “Celtic overcome ‘sticky start’ to beat Kilmarnock”


January 9, 2023 1:01 pm


Damned by faint praise!

January 9, 2023 1:06 pm

One for JNP to whet his appetite, for the coming year.

Some of the birdlife recorded by one of the members at our loch Antermony: Barn owl, blue tit, buzzard, carrion crow, chaffinch, coal tit, coot, curlew, goldeneye, goldfinch, goosander, great crested grebe, great tit, greylag goose, grey wagtail, heron, kestrel, lapwing, linnet, little grebe, mallard, mistle thrush, moorhen, mute swan, osprey, oyster catcher, peregrine falcon, pheasant, pied wagtail, pochard, raven, reed bunting, ruddy duck, sand martin, sedge warbler, snipe, song thrush, sparrow-hawk, swallow, teal, treecreeper, tufted duck, widgeon, wren, and yellowhammer.

January 9, 2023 1:07 pm


What could Celtic say in a public announcement that would satisfy you any more than silence does not?

Would you trust what you were told?

January 9, 2023 1:13 pm

Afternoon all!
Auldheid…it’s a fair point but to be honest we need actions rather than words. We need the plc to be more proactive in respect of communication with supporters. They are surely aware of the mistrust, among our support, of how VAR appears to be operating and should be either allaying our fears or ensuring the SPFL and SFA are endeavouring to apply its use fairly, honestly and correctly – none of which is happening at the minute, any of it!!

January 9, 2023 1:13 pm


I saw what that journalist wrote about Ange being irritable.
What he really meant is Ange has irritated me in his statement.
Was it TMG or something I read that said a complaint is just a reflection of an inner feeling and complaining is just a means of transferring that feeling on to something else.
I think that is what was going on there.

Jobo Baldie
January 9, 2023 1:16 pm

Celtic would clearly need to be careful and only comment on things that directly involve us. So, events that happen during the games we play in.
The numerous decisions that have occurred in almost every Sevco game and ALWAYS favouring Sevco? Well why aren’t the other teams speaking up? Particularly Hearts and Aberdeen who could be denied European places because of this (I know, maybe that’s stretching it a bit).
It’s incredible that Celtic still have a 9 point lead DESPITE the impact if VAR.

Jobo Baldie
January 9, 2023 1:18 pm

Oh and in case anyone’s interested….. please DO comment as appropriate….

January 9, 2023 1:19 pm

Afternoon all,

I know it’s all paper talk, but am I the only one bamboozeld by the 7 Million transfer fee being muted for JJ.

He performed admirably at the World Cup, subduing a world superstar ( Vinicius Jnr) who eventually was hooked during the game. His team finished 3rd and he was named in the Team of the Tourney

And………: Seems the team he is allegedly off to is Monza !!!!!!!!

Somethings not right or is it just me 😳😳😳

January 9, 2023 1:23 pm

Afternoon all,

I know it’s all paper talk, but am I the only one bamboozeld by the 7 Million transfer fee being muted for JJ.

He performed admirably at the World Cup, subduing a world superstar ( Vinicius Jnr) who eventually was hooked during the game. His team finished 3rd and he was named in the Team of the Tourney

And………: Seems the team he is allegedly off to is Monza !!!!!!!!

Somethings not right or is it just me 😳😳😳


Leggy, like you I’m puzzled by the amount stated (and it’s starting to look like an accurate figure) so can only imagine that perhaps there is a release fee in the original contract.

January 9, 2023 1:24 pm

Leggy…I’m with you on this. Surely it’s paper talk, nothing more nothing less! £7million for a World Cup Semi Finalist playing at his peak, with 3 years (I think) left on his contract. It doesn’t add up.

January 9, 2023 1:24 pm

Good point, maccargo!

Prestonpans bhoys
January 9, 2023 1:25 pm


My thoughts exactly, why do others not comment?
Did the DUFC board agree that Goldson wasn’t even worth a ref review?

January 9, 2023 1:33 pm

The cheating has been going on for as long as we can remember. Celtic supporters have lived with it all their Celtic supporting lives. That’s regardless of age. From nineteen to ninety nine, it has continued through several generations of players, managers and board members.
Why the current surge of frustration? VAR. The greatest fear of most of us was that despite its introduction, the fact it would be operated by, and, under the control of the same personnel who have collected shafted us for generations, would result in more of the same. We’ve gone from cheating, which was bad enough, to what we have now, cheating in plain sight. It’s that element that has heightened anger levels.
The SFA outlined their “vision” some time ago. Within their own ‘ four strategic pillars’ they state they need to be “ respected and trusted to lead”.

Amongst Celtic supporters they are neither. Not respected and not trusted to lead.
It’s no surprise. When you consider my aforementioned point regarding who operates the VAR system, it’s blatantly obvious there’s a conflict of interest. There always has been. The conflict of interest alone isn’t the only problem. Neither is it the major issue.

Corruption is.

A conflict of interest is where someone COULD use their position for personal satisfaction.

Corruption is when they do it.

January 9, 2023 1:43 pm

ASWGL. 1.06.
A very nice list.
Thanks for sharing, buddy.

January 9, 2023 1:49 pm


Good point. Possibly that’s the reason but it will be a first. !!!!!!

Usually it’s the other way and prices get quoted without the “ Release Fee” getting included.

As for Monza,
Perhaps JJ likes Formula 1 😜😜😜

Prestonpans bhoys
January 9, 2023 1:53 pm

Just been on videocelts and there’s another penalty claim where Jack just pushes the player out the way and moves away with the ball.
If I was a United fan I would be raging at the silence…

January 9, 2023 1:56 pm

Celtic’s position would be strengthened immensely if other clubs, such as United, were prepared to speak out.

January 9, 2023 2:00 pm


I agree totally and I’ve been working on that on and off since I proposed a Membershio Scheme as the vehicle for improving communication over 10 years ago.

I understand the current CEO wants to improve relationships with support and the Company Secretary’s role has been extended to cover that area.

My concern there is not the fella isnt interested or competent, quite the reverse but his day job, like dealing with SFA from the legal angle (he is a lawyer)) about refereeing stops progress being made on improving relationships.

Doing that via changes to the way the Fans Forum is conducted is one possibility for as SeS has reported back FF as constituted is not the vehicle.

But relationships are a tango, it takes two to dance and say Celtic come out with something that is less open than Celtic would like to say for any number of reasons including not saying anything is something SFA have stated in order to reach a solution, and that announcement is dismissed by supporters because they dont like it or dont trust what has been said.

If I had done my best and set out what it was and all I got every time was criticism, at what point does the party acting in a manner worthy of trust say sod this for a game of sojers, silence is golden and stop communicating?

The way I see it is there is no point trying to persuade Celtic the support will appreciate their attempts at improving relationships by going public when Celtic could point to social media and say no matter what we do, we will never be trusted, what is the point.

Now if this turns into I’m a Board supporter here, it will just illustrate my point of why bother, it is genuine attempt to see the issue from both sides in the hope, perhaps a forlorn one, that each side will cut each other some slack.

January 9, 2023 2:00 pm

Twisty…spot on! The worst thing is their blatant disregard for their obvious corruption. The frustration of the Celtic support is palpable and I go back to my point to Auldheid – the PLC know it and have a duty of responsibility to their shareholders and supporters to ensure their (shareholders and fans) interests are protected. They are guilty at the moment of letting issues surrounding VAR run amok in the game. I find it strange that no club feels willing or able to speak out, or a few clubs getting together to call it out. Aberdeen and Hearts behind Celtic have most to lose and haven’t been slow coming forward previously about things that don’t suit them.
One wee thing I would add is that the comment (cannae remember who said it) yesterday, that since the World Cup the ‘bad’ shouts do seem to have lessened…the biggest issue remains though, there is only one team benefitting more than others from the bad shouts that are being made!

January 9, 2023 2:07 pm


Excellent leader.

It is unlikely that other clubs will speak out against the blatant cheating. Why should they, given that the PLC at Celtic remain stubbornly silent on the matter? Those running Celtic, care only about the money flowing into their own pockets. Do they feel the angst, that Celtic supporters feel, when our team is defeated? I wouldn’t have thought so. Given their previous:

Failing on ‘duty of care’ to the players. Watching our players booted off the park every week, and saying damn all.

Watching players, staff and supporters assaulted at Ibrox, and saying hee-haw. If one of the suits was assaulted, it would be a different matter. That is a given.

Leaving Ange to do the heavy lifting, when it comes to calling out the cheating, shows what a bunch of weaklings that Lawwell, Wilson and Riley et al, really are. They are not fit for purpose.

Hail Hail.

January 9, 2023 2:07 pm

Leggy 1.19
Aye, yer no quite right. 🤣

January 9, 2023 2:09 pm

Auldheid, cheers for the response but…and there’s always a but!…at present the Board appear to be doing nothing about it. The shitstorm that is VAR continues to benefit only one team as far as we are concerned – we’re no bothered if Livi get a VARpen against Motherwell as it doesn’t affect ours or TRFC’s position of 1 and 2 in the League but when TRFC aren’t penalised against us, DU or Aberdeen and those shouts ensure they get 7 points from a possible 9 and so do we, then something is rotten. It’s obvious to us all, including the plc, and when they appear to be ignoring the issue frustrations increase.
I suppose that’s where we’re at…frustrated at the blatant cheating with no real avenue of recourse.

January 9, 2023 2:10 pm

On JJ. I think he was given a status by our support beyond which he deserved.

How much would Ralston fetch?

Is the difference reflected in the value of each to Celtic?

I am aware I think Ralston is a lot better than others give him credit for but I think JJs price whilst higher than TR because of exposure, would be nearer to what we think Ralston would fetch..

So there. 🙂

January 9, 2023 2:14 pm


I’d prefer they were doing something meaningful that required silence than they come out with something that no one is happy with.

January 9, 2023 2:23 pm

Auldheid, I think we’re saying the same thing in different ways. But inaction or reaction definitely looks worse than proactivity which does APPEAR to be lacking!
Where we’re definitely no saying the same thing is in relation to market value of JJ and The Brickie…I understand the subjectivity of Transfermarkt but they currently quote one at 9million Euros and the other at 1.8 million Euros. I think Celtic’s player trading record of the last few years suggests they could realise more for JJ than quoted but the figure for Ralston is pretty damn close!
So there 🤪

January 9, 2023 2:25 pm

Celtic should stop funding VAR, with immediate effect. Hopefully, all the other teams would do the same…bar one, obviously.

Hail Hail.

Prestonpans bhoys
January 9, 2023 2:35 pm

I’ve always said that should be the opening gambit from the board, nothing to lose.

January 9, 2023 2:38 pm

Magua and PB…I’d expect we are contractually obliged to make the payments as part of the SPFL setup. I doubt we’d have any kind of autonomy to make a decision to withhold payment.

Prestonpans bhoys
January 9, 2023 2:43 pm


I was talking about next season although no doubt you are correct about installments. However I would suspect its reviewed annually because (a) payment is dependent on the previous season’s position (b) one or two clubs could be relegated.

January 9, 2023 2:45 pm

To my mind we need to be questioning decisions that affect us specifically. Compiling a dossier of “clear and obvious” errors backed by non-Scottish referees, with other clubs invited to participate with their own irrefutable evidence, seems to me a good place to start. To publish these errors on submission to the SFA and then publishing any reply would surely prove our intent to clean up the game here. This is bigger than Celtic v TRFC, the veracity of the SFA needs to be challenged.

January 9, 2023 2:47 pm


They are guilty at the moment of letting issues surrounding VAR run amok in the game. I find it strange that no club feels willing or able to speak out, or a few clubs getting together to call it out. Aberdeen and Hearts behind Celtic have most to lose and haven’t been slow coming forward.
What exactly can Celtic threaten the SFA with that will cause an immediate stop to current arrangement and how long will it take for evidence to emerge that VAR is being applied consistently?

Celtic are not in a position to say sort out your referees or else.

Or else what say SFA?

That is the core issue. SFA are only accountable to member clubs which is why the supporters of member clubs not Directors, need to be brought into play to press the Directors of other clubs to act.

That is going to take time.

Back to SFA accountability to supporters . The best bet of achieving that is having the Tracy Crouch recommendations that should become law in England next year applied in Scotland.

What is Celtic’s position in that regard?

For or against?

That will be a true test of whether Celtic want SFA reform which will prevent a lot of what the support have to complain about in the absence of accountability.

January 9, 2023 2:50 pm

PB, fair enough but I think Celtic would still be forced to comply if all other clubs wanted it.
To be fair, it would be a backward step to take it away. If it’s accepted that VAR is part of the modern game we need to ensure it works. That is the challenge facing us at the moment. The SPFL need to act in all clubs’ interests to ensure the set up in every aspect of the game is to every club’s benefit. It’s not happening at the moment. The challenge for Celtic, as the biggest club with the biggest voice (of reason!) is to drive this forward, there can only be one ultimate outcome or we’re as well shutting the doors!

January 9, 2023 2:59 pm

Auldheid…a simple call for explanation of how it works would be better than what we’ve had so far! A moratorium until such times that the technology is transparent. The publication of Ref and VAR conversations within a few hours of the end of the game. A resolve to ensure Nick Walsh doesn’t referee 25 per cent of TRFC’s home games…
Better practices, clearer processes…it should be in everyone’s interests to promote the game here but at present it’s like a Third World corrupt league a la Jack Warner and his pals doing whatever the feck they want with complete abandon to any responsibility or liability.
At some point someone has to challenge it…it has to be Celtic and there’s no better time than now!