BBC BLOGS - Jim Spence

Archives for October 2010

Time to let Scotland's referees defend themselves

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Jim Spence | 11:09 UK time, Saturday, 30 October 2010

"Dougie said things in the heat of the moment. They were not true. He said something he fully regretted, but there was no wilful intent in what he did.

"You can call it a lie if you wish. The view of the SFA referee committee was he acted on the spur of the moment. His head was spinning when he came off and he was gutted with himself for making the decision."

Whether you accept Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan's explanation of ref Dougie McDonald's behaviour in first awarding then denying Celtic a penalty at Tannadice, and the ref's subsequent explanation of events, will depend on your depth of understanding and compassion for the frailties of the human condition known as, well, being human.

It depends whether you subscribe to the conspiracy or cock up theory in life. Whether you believe that aliens inhabit the planet disguised as our political leaders.

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Penalty controversy fails to mask Rangers' superiority

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Jim Spence | 17:18 UK time, Monday, 25 October 2010

What Neil Lennon really needed in Sunday's Old Firm game was his assistants - Alan Thompson, Johan Mjallby - and himself in the team.

What Celtic missed was exactly the kind of mentality those three brought to the Hoops jersey in spades when they were playing.

Rangers had mental toughness by the bucketful and that did for Celtic, who could not match their desire and will to win.

Lennon can feel justifiably aggrieved over a poor and wrong penalty decision, but overall Rangers had the better players.

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Is this the right radical change for Scottish football?

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Jim Spence | 23:31 UK time, Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Scottish football seems set for radical change, but will it be for the better?

As my colleague Chris McLaughlin has exclusively reported on these pages, a bigger Scottish Premier League could be in place as soon as next season.

I understand an SPL merger with the Scottish Football League is a strong possibility, although some may see it as a takeover by the top body.

If radical plans under discussion come to pass then soon you may see a top-flight with 14 clubs and the Old Firm playing their reserve teams in a second tier, or SPL2 to you and me.

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If we lose, do it with style

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Jim Spence | 14:52 UK time, Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tonight, it's time for Scotland to restore the nation's pride against Spain.

And they need look no further than the performance of the Under-21 side last night for inspiration.

If we are to lose against Spain, then it is worth losing in the manner of our youngsters.

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