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The Highs And Lows Of Scottish Football… All In One Week

Date: 21st February 2020

Scottish football always seems to have plenty of peaks and troughs. This week brought us both of them. 

I’ll start off with the lows. 

First off, the weather has been absolutely terrible. I can’t remember the last day we had that didn’t see rain pouring from the heavens. That kind of weather is not great for football and has seen fixtures in all of our leagues fall foul to the horrendous conditions in recent weeks. That impacts on fans’ weekends and also impacts on our club’s coffers. 

Now I’ve seen lots of people discuss summer football but the weather isn’t always easy to predict. The weather wasn’t that bad in January but unfortunately our top league was on a two week break during that time. Plus I’ve seen terrible weekends during the months of April and May. Scotland has even seen torrential rainstorms in June, So I’ve never been one for summer football as the weather is always unpredictable. Plus if you look at our season, we finish in May and some teams are back in preseason before mid June! 

Another low point has been the James Keatings second yellow card saga. 

The Inverness Caledonian Thistle star received a booking for simulation, diving, during his side’s 2-1 Challenge Cup semi final victory over Rangers Colts. 

I’m not the greatest fan of booking players for diving, unless it’s totally blatant. I think it’s a really tough decision for a referee to judge whether a player has dived, as minimal contact can bring a player down when he’s going at full pelt.

That being said, I’m not blaming the ref for the original decision. He has tried to interpret the law and he clearly believed that Keatings dived as he tried to enter the Gers box. He looked at the incident and decided that the forward tried to buy a foul. It’s a split second decision and he’s got it wrong, we don’t have VAR and we have to accept that decision at the time. 

The problem arises when Caley Thistle rightly look at the incident and see that there was plenty of contact and he didn’t dive. They appeal the second yellow and for some unknown reason after having studied the footage The SFA turn down the appeal. 

Now it might not have been a foul but that doesn’t mean it has to be a dive. There’s contact and enough to take Keatings to the ground. The SFA panel have to see that and reverse the card, it’s all documented on tv footage after all. Not doing so just angers fans and football clubs up and down the country. No one wants to see James Keatings miss a cup final because the referee got it wrong and then the SFA doubled down on the decision. 

The SFA’s panel might have mistakenly thought they were helping out their officials by backing this decision but all they’ve done is bring a bigger public focus onto the case and now people are questioning their integrity. 

Now for the highs! 

The Scottish Cup didn’t disappoint this midweek. 

Motherwell hosted St Mirren and the game ended up going to penalties but not before we saw a wonderful 4-4 draw at Fir Park. The Well fought back from being 4-1 down to take the tie to pens but they then crumbled under the pressure of the shootout! 

We then had another enthralling contest between Kilmarnock and Aberdeen at Rugby Park. Aberdeen left it late to take the game into extra time after finishing the ninety minutes at 1-1. Then we saw a five goals in the 30 minutes of extra time, with the Dons scoring two in the last two minutes to secure a famous 4-3 away victory! 

It was also another great week for Scottish football in Europe, with both Rangers and Celtic securing positive first leg results in the Europa League. 

Premiership champions Celtic recorded a 1-1 away draw with Danish cracks FC Copenhagen. Odsonne Edouard further enhanced his fine credentials with another important goal for The Hoops. The Glasgow giants are now favourites to reach the next round as they hope for another huge night at Celtic Park in the return leg. 

Rangers had to fightback from being two goals down to beat in-form Portuguese side Braga at Ibrox. Ianis Hagi was the catalyst that brought the Rangers fans back to their feet with his fantastic brace. Gers boss Steven Gerrard will know that there’s still a lot to do but at least they’ve given themselves a real fighting chance with that great comeback.  

I know, and boy do I know, that Scottish football has it’s faults. We see them week in and week out. But it’s also full of these great results and feel good stories too. We need to accept some of the rubbish, like the weather. We need to try and eradicate some of the unjust that happens like the Keatings decision. But we also need to celebrate the entertaining fixtures our game produces and celebrate when our team’s do well! 

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