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Chick Young's view

Referee Dougie McDonald has words with Celtic manager Neil Lennon
Referee Dougie McDonald (left) has words with Celtic boss Neil Lennon

Chick Young
By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football reporter

Good old Hearts. They never let you down.

Just as Scottish refereeing is clinging to the ropes, the Tynecastle club's Lithuanian hierarchy toe-ends it right in the manhood.

Director Sergjus Fedotovas, undoubtedly acting on instructions from the great puppet master that is Vladimir Romanov, has launched an astonishing verbal assault on our officials.

"It is time that the SFA implements a proper system of accountability otherwise the integrity of our game will be further diluted," he says.

"How long might it be before attempts by a referee to verbally engineer a situation to suit his own purposes spills into a referee actively engineering situations through actions rather than words?"

It's a long and meandering rant, which I expected to be signed off by Mr Pot.


Timing being everything, they handed out the latest epistle at half time in the match against Kilmarnock while their team were being systematically dismantled by the opposition with no help at all from the match officials.

Do they have a mirror in the boardroom at Tynecastle?

As Fedotovos prattles on about insuring that "the Scottish game is not a place for reputation damaging situations", has he clocked that his club is in debt to the tune - a dirge presumably - of something in the excess of £30m?

If you want the SFA to get their house in order, then I suggest you buy a Hoover yourself, mate.

Honestly, they should turn Scottish football into a soap opera and flog it round the world.

Meanwhile, Hugh Dallas must feel like he's in a Chicago garage and it's St Valentine's Day.

I thought the Tommy Sheridan trial was interesting until Craven-gate began to unfold.

Allegations of lies, scenes of shame and cover-ups. Forget the court room, this is just the match officials' dressing room at Tannadice.

We asked for the truth and demanded explanations. We got the latter but I'm still not sure we got the former.

Steven Craven's Sunday paper allegations still don't dovetail with what referee Dougie McDonald, referee supervisor Dallas and Martin Cryans - chairman of the Senior Football Referees' Association have to say.

Assistant referee Steven Craven has resigned
Craven resigned his assistant referee post after the Tannadice furore

Except on one point of course: lies were told. Small and white in the beginning, but monster and dark when the massaging was done.

Celtic will shake this like a dog with a rag doll and will feel vindicated that they asked questions.

And of course they were right, because the actions of the referee and linesman and the route they took to the decision made no sense.

But I would remind you that they did eventually reach the correct destination. Dundee United keeper Dusan Pernis was guilty of no crime and McDonald was right to reverse his decision to award a penalty…

Craven and McDonald behaved like schoolboys caught smoking behind sheds, but the tone of the unprompted tirade from Hearts refers darkly to "minimising the risk of match-fixing."

Is that really where we are?

Is football in this country on the threshold of corruption, or is it just plain clumsy?

This murky business has bloodied the face of our game, of that there is no doubt, but does it really justify the lynching of Dallas and the public whipping of McDonald?

Celtic's muscle once strong-armed Jim Farry on to the dole and I suspect the club - under a different administration - smell blood again.

But in this case I would point out that crime and punishment are uneasy bedfellows.

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see also
Ref McDonald explains 'lie' role
01 Nov 10 |  Scottish Premier
Scottish ref 'cover-up' is denied
31 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
SFA chief calls for ref respect
30 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
Ref warned after Tannadice probe
29 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
Reid calls for calm in ref crisis
29 Oct 10 |  Hamilton
Celtic want Collum clarification
26 Oct 10 |  Celtic
Ex-ref calls for Scots peace deal
26 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier

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