Referees need help to Fight the Fear.

Last updated : 08 November 2010 By Northampton Loyalist

Man really did land on the moon, Al-Qaeda really did fly planes into the world trade centre, JFK was the victim of a lone gunman and Area 51 is no more sinister than any test area that a government wants to use in order to test sensitive developments. The BBC in Scotland is not institutionally biased against Rangers and the referees in Scotland have no mandate to follow against the club from their SFA masters.

Yesterday I spent a pleasant afternoon amidst like minded folk in the finest hostelry in all of South Lanarkshire. Curly's bar in Larkhall has become my home away from home in recent seasons; providing a good pint at a good price, good company who know all the words and a bus to games when tickets are available the pub is everything a Rangers fan could want. Rangers had just taken three points at New St. Mirren Park and while the first half was poor, four second half goals were not enough to switch the topic of conversation away from referees and onto football.

Craig Thomson ruled a Steven Naismith goal out on the stroke of half time for a foul that only he saw. The diminutive but exceptionally proficient aerial battler had his shirt pulled by the defender in-front of him and still managed to out-jump both his limpet and the goalkeeper to steer the ball into the net; TV replays very clearly showed Naismith's arms by his sides and nowhere near either defender or 'keeper. Rangers came out after the break with purpose and claimed a 0-3 lead before the referee once again confounded both me and my fellow drinkers - A penalty this time, in the 75th minute due to the ball striking Davis hand in the area. Firstly, the ball was struck with venom from a short distance away; Davis had no time to react. Secondly, Davis' hand was by his side and in a natural position and lastly, Davis made every effort to remove his hand from the path of the ball and the flight of the ball was not affected by the minimal contact. In anyone's language it was not a penalty.

As someone who does not buy into conspiracies I am extremely concerned by these two decisions. I don't believe for a second that Craig Thomson set out to give everything he could against Rangers, I don't even believe he was determined to be 'overtly fair'. What I think happened is simple; Rangers scored a goal that saw our striker in a mix of players, a goal that would have been considered important due to its timing and the fact it was an opener. Craig Thomson had a split second decision to make and erred on the side of caution, knowing that ruling a Rangers goal out unfairly would have far less of an impact on his future prospects than allowing a dubious goal to stand. Likewise with the penalty; at three goals to the good Rangers did not look like ever dropping points so giving a penalty became an easy call, despite the dubiety of the claim.

Why then, is it easier for a referee today to make calls of that nature rather than officiate fairly? Why is it no surprise that the laws of the game take a back seat to caution? The fault does not lie with the referee; he is in an impossible situation. The fault does not lie with Rangers; the club could come out all guns blazing, with justification, and widen the debate but not without falling into the same cycle of victim-hood that 'other teams' (or 'team', more accurately) seem to revel in. The fault does not even lie with Celtic, the side that moan about every single call that goes against them, no matter how many calls go for them. The fault lies squarely with the people who sit at the top table of Scottish football.

There is not a single spine amongst the governing body, the SFA. This is an organization that has over-seen a once proud national team reduced to playing with no strikers for fear of a spanking, seen a once burgeoning national youth set-up reduced to orgasms over players with as little talent as Goodwillie and seen a once fearsome domestic league reduced to failing to compete with the lowliest of lowly nations (Rangers apart) and seen its officials afraid to judge incidents on merit without fear of retribution. has been following with interest the developments across the city since Celtic FC was very correctly denied a penalty against Dundee United. Laughter at the antics of paranoid children has been the over-riding view but some have pointed at more sinister motives. Craig Thomson's performance today has seen some of those concerns come to fruition. We witnessed a referee more worried about making a wrong call in Rangers' favour than he was about making a wrong call in St. Mirren's favour. The reason for this is not Celtic moaning to any half-baked hack with inches to fill, they are like weans who need telling how to behave. The fault lies with the governors of our game failing to condemn Celtic, failing to back the officials and failing to ensure that the standards required by any organization are upheld. Children learn how to behave because good behaviour is rewarded and bad behaviour is punished, if you don't teach a youngster that wrong is wrong, he will grow up spoiled. That is what we have today; a spoilt wean under the guise of a sporting institution. The blame for that lies squarely at the feet of the 'parent'.

How do we move on? Back the Refs first and foremost, pillory Hooper, Lawwell, Reid and Lennon in public to make sure that shameful episodes like this last fortnight do not happen again and most importantly, grow a damn spine. The rulers of the game in this country should not be beholden to anyone. I don't want favour for Rangers, I don't even particularly care that the referees are not great I just want to have a game that is played on a park with 22 men and an official who is free to make mistakes so long as they are genuine mistakes.

The game in this country is slipping down a slope and Celtic FC is not the cause, their pathetic mind-set is something that has been allowed to grow because of the cowards in charge.