It’s six weeks since Celtic were awarded a ‘phantom’ penalty at McDairmid Park in our 5-2 win when the ball was judged to have hit the hand of a Saints defender.
Referee Craig Thomson saw something no one else in the ground saw and pointed to the spot. The score at the time was 2-1 to the home side, but parity was restored when Moussa Dembele planted the ball behind Clark in the St Johnstone goal.
To be fair, very few Celtic players claimed for the penalty. It did however put the Bhoys back on even terms and give us a platform to go on to a convincing win.
The penalty award incensed the Saints manager Tommy Wright. He went ballistic during and after the game, so much so the day after referee Thomson called the Perth side manager to apologise.
At this point I’d like to point out the same Tommy Wright wasn’t so vocal when Celtic were denied a penalty in the same fixture earlier this season* after Leigh Griffiths was felled by Richard Foster in the box, resulting in a booking for the Hoops striker.
Again the press had a field day, somehow blaming Celtic for Thomson’s mistake, yet they conveniently forgot the whistler’s gaff in the semi-final of the League Cup when he wrongly chopped off Erik Sviatchenko’s header.
Craig Thomson didn’t have the courtesy of phoning Brendan Rodgers the day after that. Nor did Kevin Clancy after he allowed Ian Vigurs of ICT to almost maim Scott Sinclair in the Scottish Cup tie at Celtic Park.
In fact, the referees in the following games Don Robertson against Motherwell and Crawford Allan against Hamilton both had shockers but didn’t bother apologising to our manager.
In the last two weeks, Bobby Madden and Willie Collum’s names should be added to the list of incompetent officials who allow Celtic opponents a free rein to kick, pull and wrestle our players whenever they see fit.
There’s no doubt the managers of our opponents are instructing their players to use as heavy handed tactics as they see fit, without fear of reprisal. It seems to be the only way they think they can stop us on our unbeaten domestic run.
Without success I must add.
What is concerning is the acceptance by the SMSM, the officials and our opposing managers that kicking ten shades of shit out of our players is the only way to stop us. I really fear for our players well being.
*the same game Craig Thomson kicked off early as a protest to BT SPort after Chris Sutton had criticised his performance in the Dundee v Sevco game the week before, calling him a ‘bottler’ when he failed to send off Forrester after two atrocious tackles.