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Dallas: the Scottish football soap opera rumbles on

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Jim Spence | 12:18 UK time, Saturday, 27 November 2010

Things may never be the same again in Scottish football after the departure of Hugh Dallas.

On the field he was one of Scotland's top refs and with the work he also did for Uefa in helping to choose officials for the Champions League, I would lay money on him ending up with Europe's governing body in some capacity sooner rather than later.

An email concerning the papal visit appears to have been at the root of his downfall, with the Dallas family understood to be devastated at what was felt to be a witch-hunt over the last month over the issue.

One man's tragedy then, but what mark will it leave on the wider canvas of the Scottish game?

I think a seismic shift is underway in our game with the events of recent weeks.

The tectonic plates of Scottish football are crashing together throwing the game into a state of upheaval.

Celtic's doggedness in taking on the Scottish Football Association over what they felt were wrongs done to them over the Dougie McDonald affair and indeed at perceived injustices served up by the SFA itself, could herald a change in attitude by other clubs who might previously have run scared from a scrap with the powerbrokers.

The Parkhead club have shown an unwillingness to bend the knee and others will have watched and learned.

Those in power at Hampden suddenly look to have an Achilles heel.

Hugh Dallas has lost his job as head of referee development at the Scottish Football Association

The departure of Dallas comes at a tumultuous time for Scottish football

President George Peat pleaded this week that innuendo and inference must cease.

He didn't say who he was talking about, although the world knew that it was Celtic.

But Celtic are in no mood to listen and many will feel they have taken their first scalp.

Chief executive Stewart Regan pitched up from Yorkshire Cricket Club, but Scottish football and particularly the febrile atmosphere surrounding our two biggest clubs, may well see him stumped as he tries in vain to bat away the barrage of googlies which have reined down on him.

The issue of foreign referees may also turn out to be a Trojan horse.

Ask supporters of other clubs if they think they get the rub of the green against Celtic and Rangers and the answer will be always be a resounding no.

There were times in the past when the big city clubs in Scotland were not outgunned to anything like the same financial extent as they are now by the Glasgow giants, yet their combined trophy hauls over their respective histories would scarcely trouble the cabinets at Ibrox or Celtic Park.

Now that the principle of foreign referees has been accepted, albeit in exceptional circumstances, some clubs who may feel that they have historically suffered from an imbalance in favour of the big two, could think that that could be redressed in future, if referees from other shores, not subject to the unique pressures of Scottish football, were to officiate at their matches.

They may be wrong in that assessment but they may nevertheless think it an experiment worth toying with.

And even if the foreign experiment is no more than a one-off, our own referees will surely be emboldened by the flexing of their muscles and the realisation of the power they can wield as a unified force.

The Dallas episode may represent the first casualty in this drama, but his departure may just be the start of an earthquake which will shake Scottish football to the core.

And how about this for a wee afterthought?

The Scottish Premier League is meant to be our top league with the member clubs our biggest and best.

Instead of hearing from their chief executive, it would be good to hear from the real powerbrokers in a week which has shaken our game to its very roots.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I wish the other 40 clubs would cease this opportunity and sort out a deal to set up a league without the old firm. Celtic in my view are trying so hard to make it impossible for them to stay members of the SFA and where one goes the other follows.

    As a fan of an SPL side i feel gutted for the supporters in the SFL who through no fault of their own have no games this weekend. I agree the SPL chairmen should follow the lead of Craig Brown yesterday and ask the refs to name and shame the club(s) who's staff and fans have been causing the problems.

    It would also be a good idea to get the foreign refs to draw the next cup semi final draw as the old firm never get drawn together.

  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

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  • Comment number 4.

    Some feel that Dougie McDonald cannot referee again because he has lied.

    A number of officials have, out-of-the-blue, been asked to take control of SPL matches, something which has never happened before, and they've all turned up without knowing why we're not using Scottish officials as usual!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Will Celtic question their integrity?

  • Comment number 5.

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  • Comment number 6.

    I cringe when I hear this reported in national news & footy programmes. This results from years of whispering & sniping amoungst Old Firm. Not sure how SPL will recover fom this. I am going to start following the junior football - cheaper admittance, standing, unpredictabilty and hopefully some humour !

  • Comment number 7.

    Neil Lennon interview on now - what is Celtic agenda then ?

  • Comment number 8.

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  • Comment number 9.

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  • Comment number 10.

    It's very difficult to see where we go from here. Hugh Dallas has gone, I would imagine the pressure will now be on Dougie McDonald to stand down as well.

    I'm afraid the elephant in the room here though is the paranoia and chip on the collective shoulder of Celtic Football Club: no matter what new procedures are put in place regarding the match officials, I doubt the constant carping from the green half of the Old Firm will stop anytime soon.

  • Comment number 11.

    it has been 45 years since the abolition of the maximum wage in 1965.
    with their much larger crowds, this has meant that celtic, "along with rangers" have been able to bring in the best players, and has led to their dominance of the scottish game.
    celtic have won: 22 championships, 17 scottish cups and 12 league cups.
    yet they claim refs are AGAINST them! !$?*'s sake!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    I can't help thinking this has all been brewing for a number of seasons, for DUFC there has been McCurry, Swansons' sending off due to the case of Hugh Dallas' mysterious disappearing directive, Kalvenes sending off at Killie, Kalvenes being wrestled to ground in CIS cup final, Rangers 2 peno's in SC Qtr last season, add to that countless others  with every non-OF team able to produce a similar catalogue of attrocious decisions.

    Now while I accept mistakes can, and will, happen... the issue for me is the apparent complete lack of accountability and the SFA's utter & complete failure to manage their referee's or offer any explanation for questionable ref decisions, instead choosing to fine and censure managers who dare to raise concerns regarding any referee's performance.

    In every other walk of life Poor Performance at work is punished, for the SFA to have gone on so long without applying the same level of controls over their own referees is utterly unacceptable and was always only ever going to lead to a situation such as we have now. They have systematically shown massive dis-respect to SPL clubs and their supporters for far too long now.

    The real travesty is that ultimately, it took one of the OF raising concerns to have this matter come to a head, for years the SFA have steadfastly ignored countless similar protests from the other 10 clubs in the SPL....and this for me has to be the focus of any resulting review/inquiry!!

    The strike for me is a good thing, we've been asking for foreign refs for years now, let's hope they do come, perform well and perhaps show the way forward for refereeing in Scotland? 

  • Comment number 13.


    The only word to accurately describe both Celtic FC and that foul, bile-ridden element of their support (not them all) who view the sacking of Dallas as some sort of victory for their club.

    Disgusting, celebrating that an ordinary, decent man has lost his job over the type of silly email that shuttles around who knows how many mailboxes every week.

    For Celtic and the RC Church to claim this email was sectarian is an outrage and an attack on free speech.

    I'm reminded of the vicious attacks on the Danish cartoonist after he lampooned the Islamic deity.

    Is that what Celtic and the RC Church are after? That no one dares raises voice against them for fear of sparking mayhem?

    You know what, maybe that's exactly what they're after.

    It's getting sinister in Scotland now, and for that Celtic FC are to blame.

  • Comment number 14.


    Just listened to Neil Lennon after match interview. With all reference to the refereeing bias paranoia removed by circumstance what did we get

    The truth - he was 'livid' at the shocking defending and the gift of easy goals to the opposition. A similar assessment over the last few weeks would have been just as valid.

    As I said a few days ago - no bias, no lack of integrity just mistakes and yes errors of judgement. Personally I see more dishonesty and lack of integrity by the cheats every club has - diving, simulation, throw ins and free kicks form the wrong place etc etc

    Can we just get back to the football - Please???

  • Comment number 15.

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  • Comment number 16.

    Looking at this debacle as purely a football fan (I dont support any particular club - Ill watch any game), it is a sad day for the game in Scotland. There are no winners in all of this, despite what some misguided 'supporters' may think.

    The SFA will be seen by the rest of the world as a joke - it has lost control of football in Scotland. It seems the Scottish game is now run by 1 club and a religious organisation, both of which need to look inwardly to their own faults before telling others how to conduct themselves.

    The so called 'professional' players also need to take a long look at themselves. They are supposed to be the best players available, yet they cheat pure and simple. They con the referee, they question every decision and verbally abuse him at every opportunity. This is not a good example for kids.

    Saying all that, Referees should be transparent - and whilst Dougies penalty decision was correct, his subsequent actions were not. I think that rather than a strike the refs should have followed the letter of the law with no leeway. In 2 months time when 1/2 the players are unavailable due to suspensions and the games cant go ahead anyway perhaps the SFA would take action.

    The media are also to blame. 16 camera angles and frame by frame replays proving the ref made the wrong decision just add fuel to the fire. Even after the strike decision had been announced and its reason we still had Craig Burley citisizing a linesmans decision in the United v Rangers game in mid-week!

    Sacking Hugh Dallas over an e-mail that at worst was in bad taste is also pandering to the vociferous minority. Scottish footballs loss will be someone elses gain however.

    If this is not sorted out very soon, organised serious football in Scotland is dead - then what are we going to moan about?

  • Comment number 17.

    For me personally i think they SFA have done very little in support for referees. It is quite obvious that Celtic are the main problem behind the strike and what seems to have been swept under the carpet is that Willie Collum received death threats after the Old Firm match! Now come on folks can you seriously blame referees for deciding enough is enough?!
    As for Hugh Dallas, yes a stupid thing to do in this day and age to send such an email and he has been witch hunted out of his position. In my opinion he will be a huge loss for Scottish referees and Scottish Football regardless of your opinion on him. This is a man regarded by FIFA at one point as one of the best in the world and UEFA still use him to select Champions League referees. The Old Firm is a cauldron of hatred and once a referee has a wrong decision against either side he is then branded a 'cheat' or 'one of them'. Thats why it amazes me why anyone would want to be a referee in Scotland and i have no doubt if there wasnt such bigotry and hatred in Scotland, Hugh Dallas would still be in his old job.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'd love nothing more than for the two warring tribes of Glasgow to be told to pack their bags and leave Scottish football for good, and see if they can get anyone else to put up with their endless bile but let's be realistic: each team's cut of a TV deal for an OF-free Scottish league, if it could even get one, wouldn't cover the wage bill for a club's office staff, never mind anything resembling a squad.

  • Comment number 19.

    There's an easy way to sort this out:

    1. Now Dallas has gone appoint a head of refs who a) wants refs to be in the background not the centre of attention in games and b) is not Scottish so the OF can't accuse him of bias.

    2. Appoint foreign refs for all Scottish games, so a) the OF can't investigate what clubs they used to support, what religion they are, etc, and b) Celtic and Rangers fans who like to issue death threats against refs or smash their windows in when a decision goes against them won't find it so easy to get at them.

    3. Do not consider any Celtic or Rangers game, no matter who they are playing, as being the most high-profile game. The biggest head-to-head game this weekend is Motherwell-Hearts with both going for 3rd (and a Euro spot), yet the SFA decided not only to appoint the same ref for both OF games (to avoid accusations of bias?) but they also gave the OF the most experienced ref. This is blatantly unfair - the fairer way would have been a random draw to see which ref refferd which game this weekend.

    4. Have an independent panel to review ref performances/complaints from clubs which is also made up of foreigners and so not part of the ref community in Scotland for the same reasons listed above. The whole thing of getting refs to review their decisions themselves is ridiculous - see Brines sending off Zaluskis against Aberdeen (for getting headbutted) as one example.

  • Comment number 20.

    How did Celtic, the wealthiest club in Scotland, get this victim status? Dallas forwards an joke email (referencing something that actually occurred), Celtic apply pressure and he's sacked. John Reid says 'those days are gone' suggesting Scottish referees were cheating Celtic and despite the fact he has no proof of this he's still in a job.

    Why do we need foreign referees? When did being Scottish equate to being incapable of overseeing a football match? Are we really lacking 'integrity' and 'fair-mindedness' as a nation?

    OK, Celtic have got the money and the support and the power that goes with it, but do we really need to apologise and bus in foreign refs whenever they have a run of bad form?

  • Comment number 21.

    Right i understand everyone is jealous of us as we are the biggest club in scotland, but why oh why are RANGERS getting blamed for this.

    Everyone knows it is CELTIC who caused this, Walter Smith even backed the refs and tried to support the SFA!

    Seriously get a grip, rangers have never asked for clarfication in modern times, weve never forced a former world class ref (dallas) to be sacked, and weve never moaned about a conspiracy

  • Comment number 22.

    18. 24 yrs and counting - I support a 1st Division club, financially it's tough but my teams solvent - we don't rely on the old firm and don't get TV money so yes it is possible to live without the old firm.

    19. Rabbity - so what happens to the Scottish Refs? - its not their fault the Old Firm are paranoid with sectarian support that go about committing murders in the West Coast every time their team gets beat after playing each other.

    If the old firm can't handle results and decisions going against them then they need to quit the game, as 11. Kenstor wrote the old firm have won a tonne of titles so whats their problem?

  • Comment number 23.

    I think that the ref's when they go back state that they expect the same standards that apply in the modern workplace as regards abuse to apply to them, especially where it involves representatives of a football club. I dont go to work expecting verbal abuse although as i work in a care home i get it sometimes, there is a reason for that. Also if they stuck to the letter of the law as stated above by february or march most teams would be unable to play maybe that should be their next step.

    Also the sfa should make it clear that there is a punitive sliding scale for offences of verbal abuse that increase exponentially eg 2,4, 16 weeks etc of sitting in the stand. The assistant referees and the 4th official should also be more proactive as regards diving and off the ball incidents who knows then maybe you could get 11 guys trying to beat each other rather than this victim mentality. As poster 14 stated regarding the celtic managers comments on his interview that may be the real reason for all this. :)

  • Comment number 24.

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  • Comment number 25.

    Your comments on Hugh Dallas are nothing more than niave and seriously worrying.

    The stupidness of Hugh Dallas producing an email that has the potential to inflame religous and cultural sensitivities was crass. Your executive summary of Hugh Dallas is that he will end up in Geneva. Are you serious ? Are you really saying that Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter will accept such latent sectarian views in the plush euro corridors of Geneva. If the German FA made similar views of the Israeli FA there would be real teutonic plate movement. Niave is being kind to you Jim !

    On the issue on Mr George Peat, what a lamentable character leading the Scottish Football Association. I listened to this man last week and all he could mention was the conspiracy theory must end. I do cringe when I hear this man speak and he is an embarrassment to Scottish Football. How can a distinguished public figure like Sr John Reid have faith in such a pedestrian character like Mr Peat. Mr Peat patently has issues with Celtic FC and he is obviously unable to hide his true feelings. His true feelings were written on his forehead. Mr Peat would be the same character who would have defended the referreing of Mr Wharton during the infamous Stein/Waddell/Wallace old firm era. Mr Stein was not complimentary of Mr Wharton. Mr Peat would have also defended the era of Mr Syme and his famous penalty era at Hampden during a specific League Cup Final. Mr Hay was not complimentary of the aforementioned.

    In addition the Mr Peat interview was against the background of Dallas, Willie Collum and the infamous penalty decision at Celtic Park which he did not see and could have proposed Kirk Broadfoot for an Oscar. Then we had Mr McDonald and his inability to come to a coherent script with his other officials so as to close down the 'scent of lies' for Mr Lennon. Mr Lennon asked some observant questions and guess what Jim ?

    Now we have Saint Walter of Govan who wants to help referees and be their Personal Assistant. Does St Walter think we all came up the Clyde in a Bannana boat ?

    If you have no dodgy decisions made against you then the chances of clashes with referess are ZERO. Just ask Craig levein aka Ibrox (you will remember this Jim) Mark McGhee and Jim jeffries lately.

    Lets not re-vist mr Levein at Ibrox Jim as Craig has moved on and now does not have to face such injustices.

    The current Celtic team are a bland below average outfit that cannot cope with the defensive model built by Mr Smith and Inverness CT today.

    Celtic will not win the SPL, nor the League Cup or the Scottish Cup because they are not good enough, simple end of story. BUT lets make sure that teams win these coveted Scottish awards by skill, talent and genius NOT by dodgy decisons and bad bad refereeing.

    Scottish Football Refereeing needs change and this has been confirmed by the current crop and their decision to strike this weekend. They have brought shame and embarrassment to the good name of Scottish Football.

    Terminate the contracts of the lot by the end of season 2010/2011.

  • Comment number 26.


    Your comments seem to focus on the concerns of Celtic FC. BUT lets move the debate onto Mr Craig Levein and Dundee Utd FC and their visit to Ibrox last year and the outburst of their then manager over 'Referees that botttle it at Ibrox' Mr levein received resounding support form all of Scottish Football - yes ALL in Scottish football for his views. Why did he receive such support ? because the REFEREE decisons made on the day were so embarrassing to SCOTTISH FOOTBALL that no FAIR MINDED individual could support such dubious decisions. Mr Levein got GLOBAL air time because he was prepared to voice CONCERNS in an articulate fashion and with a great degree of passion and authority.
    The beneficiaries on the day were Glasgow Rangers FC.

    What happened to the referee on that particular day ? Did he strike the following week. Did his colleagues call a meeting to decide to strike because of the comments of Mr Craig Levein.

    No !

    Because Craig Levein made valid points and I believe current SPL managers are also raising the same concerns TODAY !

    I would presume history will show that Mr Smith supported the actions of the referee at Ibrox on that day and the subsequent referee meeting to strike ! Did they strike ?

  • Comment number 27.

    I think "soap opera" just about sums it up.
    I have taken a lot of flack on various DB's around this site for my views that Scottish football is a bit of a joke, yet the SFA, the clubs, the managers, and a large percentage of the fans continue to vindicate my views.
    Almost every day there is some additional news item which serves only to prove me right.

  • Comment number 28.

    #22 Re foreign refs - I should have clarified use the foreign refs in the SPL only.

    In my opinion the refs bottled it. If they really wanted to make their point they should have refused to ref Celtic games only as the club that has caused this. They lost a lot of potential support that was as they ended up punishing every Scottish club.

    HOWEVER, the foreign refs did a great job on Saturday and hopefully our refs will learn that you don't need to be the centre of attention or hand out yellow cards all over the place to have a good game.

  • Comment number 29.

    The best thing that could happen is Celtic joining some sort of English or Irish based league. They and the most fanatic and dangerous of their supporters, have definitely outlived their welcome in Scotland, and i personally think a lot of the problems would disappear if they did too.

    Alternatively, why not a Glasgow league? 5 or 6 clubs that just play each other, and save the rest of the country from the destruction, and religious intimidation, that comes from travelling to a match that includes Celtic.

    If the rest of the clubs boycotted any matches with Celtic, then it wouldn't take long for fans of every other club to start enjoying their football again, and give the SFA, and the refs, a chance to do the same, in a much better environment for the Scottish version of the beautiful game.

    It's obvious to all who's responsible, and it's not rocket science to see a solution that would benefit everyone else. If the SFA have the courage to make the big decision.

  • Comment number 30.

    "The best thing that could happen is Celtic joining some sort of English or Irish based league."

    Yes, but unfortunately due to the actions of a large section of their fans, the EPL certainly won't take Celtic (or Rangers, although Rangers may be seen as slightly less unpalatable in England than Celtic. (Although they are as bad as each other in my opinion)

    In terms of the Irish thing, Celtic has sought to profit from their Irish connection - unlike Hibs, a club which was founded before Celtic and which has a more Irish name (and yet now has a firmly Scottish identity) - as well as the historical issues in Glasgow and this has attracted a very undesirable element to their core support. I'll never forget my first Celtic game as a kid in the 80s and being targeted by one of their away support's infamous pretend snipers.

    It would be best for everyone if Rangers and Celtic would just leave Scottish football. I read another comment somewhere else that they could be like the Harlem Globetrotters and just play each other in exhibition games around the world. They could take their own pet referee - after all appropriate background checks have been done obviously (team supported, religion, name, etc).

  • Comment number 31.

    It is a shame to see this sort of garbage at this level.
    However it is an issue common to the modern game at all levels and in most countries.
    Abuse of officials by players, team officials, fans, even parents in youth leagues is endemic. Everyone needs to realize fewer and fewer people want to be refs any more. At this rate you will no longer get top athletes becoming refs because that is what you need to be to ref at the professional level in the modern game let alone for youth leagues. So where does that leave the clubs? An overall lowering of standards which will only get worse.
    Ask yourselves this; If your child got 99% in an exam, would you not be estatic? Yet every time an official makes a mistake or does not make a call,(No officials cannot see everything the players and coaches do) they are villified.
    Do you see players have their every error in games criticized to the same criteria and level of scrutiny? At the same time while technology has existed for decades that would assist referees in making the correct or at least better calls no one from FIFA on down has ever implimented any.
    As mentioned in the thread why is Celtic so critical especially as they have hardly played on a level playing field with the rest of the SPL clubs with the exception of Rangers? I wonder what the response would be if they or Rangers played in the EPL?
    I must also agree with Rabbity that the SPL would be better without Rangers and Celtic.

  • Comment number 32.

    Just reading through these comments reminds me of why I left Scotland. I couldn't get a decent job if I told the truth about which school I went to, or told the truth about which football club I supported. I wasn't allowed to progress up the leagues as a referee, I did not follow the Black Lodge party line. Anyone with a modicum of sense can see what effect sectarianism is still having on Scottish society - the big difference is that we are desensitised to the real issues because we are too wrapped up in sectarian nonsense - and even those who claim to support other clubs outside the old firm have not realised that if they get a bad decision against Rangers, they whinge like the rest of us. But when they get a bad decision against Celtic, it is because Celtic are constantly whining about cheating referees and sectarian conspiracies. If they had an ounce of real sense, they would see that the drop in refereeing standards since Dallas has been involved in selecting, training and mentoring the elite group should have ensured his departure even before he became Head of referee development!

  • Comment number 33.

    "If they had an ounce of real sense, they would see that the drop in refereeing standards since Dallas has been involved in selecting, training and mentoring the elite group should have ensured his departure even before he became Head of referee development!"

    All non-OF fans know our referees have been terrible over the last few seasons in particular. However no-one can take seriously Celtic's claims that they are the main victims of this. That's a joke. They won two championships in a row not long ago.

    Going further back, did Celtic not win 9 league titles in a row in the 60s/70s?! Do they not take turns in winning the league with Rangers every year? So how exactly are they discriminated against? The answer - they're not. There is a pecking order in Scottish football. Rangers are at the top (everyone knows they have the most power) and Celtic are very close behind. Then comes everyone else.

    This is more about Celtic's own poor form than anything else. It's amazing that they only complain about refs when they're not playing well.

  • Comment number 34.

    President George Peat pleaded this week that innuendo and inference must cease.

    He didn't say who he was talking about, although the world knew that it was Celtic.


    Am I the only one who sees the irony in talking about innuendo and inference but NOT naming the club they are apparently talking about. Surely it can't be that other managers and clubs have spoken out about refs???

  • Comment number 35.

    The SFA has been pandering to the OF for years, too scared that the big money will leave for England. Celtic have truely pushed the boat too far by trying to bully the refs into giving every decision in their favour, they have now made themselve unsellable to any league.

    Time for reform of the SFA and SPL. Give the power back to the rest of the clubs and reign in the old firm.

  • Comment number 36.

    Glasgow and the west of Scotland has long standing and deep routed problem which needs to be addressed for the sake of football across the nation - the Scottish Football Association. Leave sectarianism to one side, just for a moment, and think of something that hasn't been in decline over the last few decades?? Poor officials (office bearers at Hampden & referees), poor quality of players coming through, declining revenues, declining attendances, declining international rankings, declining power of SFA itself through the formation of the SPL, the list goes on........... The SFA has to take the lead in shaping our national game and ensuring it has a future. No single club (or SPL size group of clubs) can do this alone as the Old Firm and SPL continue to prove. This debacle has rambled on and on because the structure and authority was not there to deal with it.

    Institutionalised discrimination of any sort, sectarianism (or call it what you like) is a serious accusation to make which needs real evidence and strength of conviction to support it. Innuendo and suggestion are not enough. When a club uses this in an attempt to wash Scottish Football's dirty laundry in public, it risks being labelled as - 'institutionally paranoid'. Or do Celtic feel they have a minority status in Scottish Football which needs to be defended in this way?? It was not Goliath that threw the stone at David. There should be some real embarrassment at how this has been handled and the damage that it has done to Scottish Football. Unfortunately, when there are two enormous goldfish in a bowl they can't get out, damage is inevitable it would seem. Although the blue half of Glasgow may be laughing at the situation they'ed do well to remember that they are being implicated through association........................

    As for the media, well they can only report what's been said (or implied) and then throw it back at you when your time comes (or you lose 4-0 away to the Buddies). Mr Lennon, Mr Reid and all beware!

    The trend is becoming clear. The lack of real leaders in our game has created an increasing number of scapegoats being found for every problem we don't have the vision or qualities to solve. Once they're done with the refs, the ball boys had better watch's got to be someone's fault? Hasn't it??

  • Comment number 37.

    Cardiff boss Dave Jones angry with referee Kevin Friend

    Both managers differed in their views over referee Kevin Friend
    Cardiff City boss Dave Jones criticised referee Kevin Friend for not awarding them a late penalty in the 2-1 defeat at leaders Queens Park Rangers.

    Top scorer Jay Bothroyd was brought down in the box by QPR's Matthew Connolly as Cardiff were chasing an equaliser, but no spot-kick was given.

    The win for QPR opened the gap on second-place Cardiff to five points.

    "How can the referee not see it? And if he doesn't see it, how can the linesman not see it?" asked Jones.

    "They're the big decisions that matter in tight games like this.

    "Everybody in the stadium could see it was a penalty. The reaction of the QPR players tells you that. We feel hard done by.

    "I went to see him (the referee) about it afterwards and he asked if I was questioning his integrity. I was questioning his decision.

    "Referees have got to be better in games like this. Was the game too big for him? That's for the referee's assessor to decide

  • Comment number 38.

    "the EPL certainly won't take Celtic (or Rangers, although Rangers may be seen as slightly less unpalatable in England than Celtic."


    Try asking the Manchester police if they would rather have Rangers or Celtic fans visiting them.

    It seems strange that so many people have fallen for the media campaign against Celtic on this issue. Derek Adams is currently on an 18-match touchline ban, so he's obviously caused officials more problems than Neil Lennon.

    “I said to the referee that we were as well just not turning up here today,” he said. “Mike McCurry could have phoned me at home this morning and said, ‘Look, Rangers are going to get the three points, just stay in the house.’ It is impossible. Just try to imagine if these decisions had been the other way about – Mike McCurry would never referee another game again.”

    Did Neil Lennon say this? No- Craig Levein, after a visit to Ibrox.

    "He is quite quick to give penalties against us, we've had it in the past and no doubt we will have it in the future."

    Was this Neil Lennon questioning a referees integrity? No - Peter Houston talking about Dougie MacDonald.

    I could go on, but I guess most of you don't want to hear this. It suits you better to blame Celtic for everything that's wrong with Scottish football. The referees in this country have been getting worse year on year, and most people don't want to face up to it.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    If Hugh Dallas had of handed out a more severe punishment
    to "Dougie, Dougie" McDonald then it's unlikely that events
    would have escalated to the extent that they have.

    The fact is that "Dougie, Dougie" thought it appropriate to
    LIE to the referee inspector and an SPL manager. For that
    he should have been sacked. That Hugh Dallas thought it
    appropriate to only slap him on the wrist, shows a serious
    error in judgement (the first of many).

    Instead of going into hiding and trying to ride out the
    storm, Hugh Dallas should have handed "Dougie, Dougie" a
    more severe punishment such as a month's ban.

    This is the ROOT of the problem and it's still not been
    dealt with. A referee cannot LIE to a fellow professional
    and then expect to remain in a position of power and

    If the SFA were prepared to sweep this LIE under the carpet,
    how many more lies have gone on undiscovered and unpunished?

    Now onto the e-mail...

    That Hugh Dallas thought it appropriate to forward on an
    overtly offensive e-mail to his colleagues says a lot about
    him and the culture of the SFA.

    The subject of peadophilia is NOTHING to laugh about. Just
    ask any of the victims. (Of peadophile priests or otherwise).

    What Hugh Dallas does in his personal time with his personal
    e-mail is his business. But using SFA time and resources to
    peddle an overtly sectarian e-mail is unacceptable so he
    needs to fall on his sword.

    I would be the first to admit that Hugh Dallas was a top class
    referee. However, no matter how high your rise, you're not
    above the law or employing the basic human principles such as
    respect and compassion.

    None of the parties involved in this sorry episode come out of
    it with much praise.

    I do admire Celtic for pursuing the "Dougie, Dougie" McDonald
    scandal to the fullest. What I do not condone is Neil Lennon
    questioning almost every refereeing decision ever since (and
    team results have suffered - non-coincidentally).

    And I truly feel sorry for the SFL clubs who have suffered the
    most in this episode. They are the ones who have complained
    the least and lost the most. That is NOT right.

    It should have been the SFL clubs that got whatever referees
    were spare this weekend. But no. Instead, the referees go to
    the SPL clubs - the main perpetrators. And why? TV rights,
    potential lawsuits and money.

    The referees have been shown up completely in this case. They
    didn't even have a proposal in place to put off the strike
    action. Plus they used strike action as a first resort instead
    of a last resort.

    And lastly the press. The past weeks have shown just how biased
    the Scottish press are. The major focus has been on perpetrating
    the story of how Celtic are the main cause of this situation.


    Neil Lennon and John Reid are partially responsible. But what
    about the comments of Peter Houston, Jim Jeffries, Mark McGhee
    and others? They've barely had a mention.

    Until "Dougie, Dougie" McDonald is forced out of his post, this
    issue will not go away.

    And please Neil Lennon. Being to act like a Celtic Manager rather
    that a foul-mouthed thug on the touchline. And quit questioning
    contentious referee decisions at every turn. Focus the team on
    winning games instead.

    Over and out.

  • Comment number 41.

    Hugh Dallas had to be sacked, the SFA had no choice. This email gave the impression that Dallas was anti Catholic and by implication anti Celtic, whether we agree with this sentiment or not is by the by, its the impression that counts here. A man of his position should have known better.

    There seems to be comment that Celtic have been pushing for Dallas to be sacked over this, can someone please show me where these comments exist?

    Also please remember that Lennon hasn't blamed the referees for the defeats from Rangers & Hearts, he blamed the defence. He only asked for clarification over various incorrect decisions.

    Hopefully the events over the last few weeks will eventually lead to a better standard from our officials

  • Comment number 42.

    Good to read a somewhat less histrionic commentary than that offered by the increasingly 'idiosyncratic' Chick Young, following on from his 'contribution' to BBC Radio Scotland on Friday evening.

    Hugh Dallas HAD to go.

    Fine, he was a great referee just as Jim Farry was a great administrator - both felled substantially by cack-handed coverups, rather than matters of substance.

    Dallas might have got away with formal censure re the email episode if he wasn't already on the ropes for the Dougie McDonald affair.

    As to the more general point about referees, instead of going on strike, they should have 'worked to rule':

    Foul language by a player - instant red card
    Speaking back to the referee - instant yellow/red card
    Showing dissent in any way (e.g. shaking of the head) - yellow card

    Referees are not there to be pals with the players, they are supposed to be removed from the heat of the battle, and provided there is consistency - however severe and potentially lacking in commonsense - all players, management would know where they stood.

    As far as I can recollect, there are NO circumstances during a game which require a player to speak to the referee - so the players should keep their mouths shut, and the referee should be able to use hand-gestures (as at the World Cup, where not everyone has common language) rather than speaking to players.

    After the game, managers, etc. should keep away from the officials.

    With modern technology, the referee (and linesmen) should be constantly recorded - and should be giving a running commentary on actions (decisions given, etc.) as a permanent record of the true sequence of events! A club representative should be allowed to monitor - or retrospectively review - the recording(s).

  • Comment number 43.

    Yes we know what your views are but you always seem to comment. Rarely about the issues in question though! And from an EPL follower after the Liverpool saga and the Wayno crisis, the greed league has its own soap.

    Now onwards:

    I was actually surprised at the timing of the intervention by the Catholic Church. They should approriately have waited until the matter was dealt with by his employer.

    WHY did they intervene when they did? Did they know this was a cruch weekend for Dallas and his employer?

    I'm almost rempted to do a reverse paranoia scenario and ask was there any COLLUSION between Celtic and the Church over this issue? But that is too far fetched is it not.

    That said I think asking for a man to be sacked for receiving and distributing an e-mail (not in any way maligning followers of the Catholic faith) was a bit irronic given that as a church they profess LOVE, TOLERANCE and FORGIVENESS. Those same aspects of their faith that they they profess to hold so dear and expected others to show recently in far more SERIOUS circumstances towards them.

  • Comment number 44.

    this is all just another sign of the awful state of scottish football. its totally lacking in regulation and the insane lavel of protectionism particularly in old firm is so for removed from sport. theres nothing sporing about obsessive protectionism.

    we need a massive shake up! a governing body with real power and conjoined focus on the progression of the sporting aspects of our game. on and off the field. referees are a part of that.

    we need a league set up that is fair, interesting and sporting. currently we have insane finacial bias seen nowhere else and top clubs trying to protect their elite status. old firm can't leave so theres no point in discussing that but they need keeping in check so at least all teams have a fair start. they will always be the biggest clubs but they have such a hold financially that no one else has a hope and thats why they have done it!

    we need a league where we only play each other twice. theres less emphasis on the importance of old firm fixtures then as there will be fewer and their reqularity and influence would be reduced. we need people to support their nearest tem not just old firm. i'd even like to see growth in teams like airdrie and partick to reflect that swing. (i'm not a fan of either.).

    It's frankly sick that old firm, despite being the biggest clubs anyway will happily strangle the whole league system for their own ends. the trouble is that nothing can impliment change enless old firm want it due to the voting system and a wak governing body. it's time we did what was best for scottish football as a whole!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Okay, worried now. It was bad enough when one club was putting in bad performances on the park, but shifted the blame from its own shoulders by throwing the toys out of the pram over the subject of referees. Any club in Scotland can talk about poor refereeing decisions - and from post 37 above, clubs in England can too so sectarianism need hardly rear its head. If there's a problem over refereeing standards, it applies to everyone. If there's a problem about the rich clubs in Scotland getting more "luck", that's a problem for ten SPL teams but not for the Glasgow pair.

    Moreover, after yesterday, either Luxembourg and its footballing officialdom has now joined the shady establishment conspiracy to deny Celtic another SPL title - the officials at Celtic v Inverness were Luxembourgeois - or Celtic's defence conceded two goals in the last 20 minutes because the defence is rather poor. Given that they made mistakes, I look forward to Baron Reid of Cardowan questioning their integrity at the next club AGM. Or Neil Lennon calling for their dismissal.

    Putting that to one side however, Dallas' departure has now moved everything to a completely 'nother level. It seems that people who work for the SFA cannot read satirical emails without church bodies demanding their resignation - and ultimately getting the result they were looking for. As for "that email", I have seen similar satirical material on BBC television programmes like Mock The Week (over 3 million viewers according to BARB figures) and Have I Got News For You (over 5 million viewers), I am currently considering whether myself and the other 8 million and more should tender our resignations for having the temerity to look at such heinous content.

    Seriously however, post 2 above which described the relevant email as "blatantly sectarian" is indicative of the profound problem we have in Scotland. A church has a well-publicised issue with the behaviour of certain of its members. This becomes an *international topic of debate* and is taken up by satirists worldwide. Mainstream television programmes on the BBC and other channels regularly take a pop at this church for reasons that I won't elaborate here in case it offends the mods. Joke emails circulate everywhere. The problems of two football teams in West Central Scotland, in context, don't amount to a hill of beans in comparison.

    But if one such satirical email goes through the computer system at the SFA then it's seized on as sectarian and evidence that the recipient or sender falls down on one side or the other of the green/blue divide and is therefore biased for or against "us". And instead of being dismissed as a utterly bonkers, anger about this email results in a resignation.

    Result? There is now a precedent for external organisations - religious or otherwise - exerting pressure on the SFA and getting the result they want. Who's next?

  • Comment number 46.

    SPL, Officials, Referees, Players and Fans alike have contributed in disrupting the game. They have to work hard to get back in credit by swiftly communicating their differences and finding solutions to their problems. They need to respect the game of football and stop blaming each other, grow up, accept/share responsibilities and get on with it.

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 - "It seems that people who work for the SFA cannot read satirical emails without church bodies demanding their resignation"


    I don't think you've been following the story closely enough. Dallas wasn't in trouble for reading the email. His problem was forwarding the email.
    If the SFA is anything like my office, then there will be strict policies about email usage, which Dallas has broken. If I'd received the same email at my work address, then forwarded it, I'm pretty sure I'd have been sacked.

    Also, it's easy for people to link Celtic to the Dallas email scandal, but if I was a player at the likes of East Stirling, and happened to be Catholic, then I'd also be concerned about whether I was being treated equally by the refereeing fraternity.

  • Comment number 48.

    Dallas couldn't avoid receiving the [at best] 'dubious' email at his SFA email account, but he certainly shouldn't have forwarded it.

    What I'm not clear about, however, is the content of the forwarded email.

    He received a picture only, no text - nor indeed, context. Did he simply forward this without comment, or add something which may have either mitigated or conversely exacerbated the situation?

    Widening to the coverage of recent events, I am far more concerned with the apparent conflation of the interests of Celtic Football Club with those of the Catholic church; surely we've got beyond that simplistic connection.

    As far as I am aware, the Catholic Church has no connection to or standing within the SFA, hence no basis upon which to seek action against Dallas - other than as would be the case of any other outside body or individual. Indeed, if the offence is as seems to have been claimed (mainly by others, esp. in the media), the Church's correct course of action would have been to ask the police to investigate the matter with the possibility of a report on Dallas's actions being referred to the procurator fiscal.

    As far as I am aware, Celtic Football Club does not bar non-Catholics, and so offence to that religion has no relevance to the club itself.

  • Comment number 49.

    There is not a single man in the whole of the world who has not felt that at some time the club he or she supports has been the vitim of a "homer ref". There is not a single fan in the whole world who has not accused that ref of having an affiliation with the club against whom their team has played. Therefore the hypocrisy that is welded onto this dismisssal and the calling to attention the lies and cover up of Dougie McDonald is what should cease. Referees are human and just as they can easily make mistakes, they can also allow their heart to rule their heads. When a major team in a small league, which has two massive fish and a few small fish swimming around them, falls into disrepute it is completely understandable that everyone will be calling foul, except, perhaps, those big fish, who may well have benefitted from the actions of the majority of the officials. That is only common sense.

    The smaller clubs in Scotland are always, and I mean, always complaining that they are not officiated by fairminded men when they face the "Old Firm." This, my fellow football fans, is not new, neither is it a false report on the status or feeling in the game. This, is INNUENDO. That said, if only Celtic and Rangers benefit from favouritism, then one must accuse all the 'wee teams' of starting the trouble by complaining about the match officials. However, we also know that no-one in the game is without a favourite team. We have English favourites, European favourites and even world favourites. We have national favourites and international favourites. Referees are no different. Sometimes the game will be tainted, because the match officials will make errors which were not the result of being bribed, but simply because with their own favourite side, close to or distant from a particular dream, they might see what is a nothing decision will help along the way, while they may just make an "honest mistake."

    It is only a few weeks since one major set of fans were calling for the head of a north eastern manager because they knew, that his side were going to be hammered in a particular SPL match. When that expected result was followed by a comprehensive thrashing for the team or eleven professional footballers, the manager was blamed for the crime of lying down to his personal favourite team. This is also innuendo, and is a shameful lie. The manager did not set foot on the pitch. The manager is likely to be fired very soon, but the woeful team is still being beaten by all and sundry of a weekend or midweek evening.

    The match officials do need help. They could easily, even very easily, be aided by the techonology which they complain is catching their, "honest mistakes" but last season every team in Scotland suffered from these "honest mistakes" to the benefit of the administration side, and we all know who they are. The same team is in financial trouble but they were not put into administration, even though their financial affairs are being administered by the banks. Instead Falkirk had to endure being kept in a lower league because they could not afford to build an all seater stadium, and both Gretna and Livingston had to suffer the ignomonity of being sent out of football, because their owner was DYING and sent down because they had little fiscal backing. Dundee are heading out of business, because their backer has had enough of stripping his personal assets, but the mighty listed building is being propped up, by some proverbial hidden hand.

    And still, we have the whole of the land complaining against the team who suffered the disgraceful situation where three penalty kicks were refused in one match, one having been given when a series of, in the box challenges cost a goal chance, and secondly because the match offical LIED to the club, the manager and the supervisor of referees. The man and his mates then attempted to cover up his change of heart and his false set of circumstances leading therto. The man and his mates, then say "our integrity is being questioned." Quite right lads. It is disgraceful that it has not been questioned six decades earlier. And by the way, a strike was averted when a steeltown manager, not related to Celtic, was incensed at the same officials, and a Captial club has been at war with the entire Scottish administration for half a decade. Note well sports fans, the owner and manger in this situation are both non Scots, who wonder about the state of this national shame.

    I googled the manager/referee debate this week and EVERY CLUB IS GUILTY to a degree. But hey, this is all Celtic's fault. Aye right. Let's go to court lads. Lets examine the video replays and the evidence before us all, in front af an impartial judge, if one can be found. But let he who is without sin, cast the first stone against Celtic and its employees.

  • Comment number 50.

    An email concerning the papal visit appears to have been at the root of his downfall, with the Dallas family understood to be devastated at what was felt to be a witch-hunt over the last month over the issue.

    A chilly Christmas in store for Hugh, then, whatever the weather might be in late December; I hope the 'devastation' mentioned does not extend beyond the door of Mr Dallas himself, since his actions invited this scrutiny....

  • Comment number 51.


    "Lets examine the video replays and the evidence before us all, in front af an impartial judge, if one can be found."

    Now the judiciary are part of the conspiracy against Celtic FC? Perhaps your poor results are somehow related to the team's performance - just a suggestion, no offence intended.

  • Comment number 52.

    I work for a Christian organisation which works with churches of all denominations and am always annoyed when the bile going between Rangers and Celtic is described as religious sectarianism. In truth the hatred between the 2 sets of fans has nothing to do with the doctrinal differences between Protestants and Catholics over matters such as the authority of the Bible over the authority of the church hierarchy, the role of Mary or whether it is right to call the Pope the 'head' of the church etc. Instead, most of the hatred seems to centre from a political argument: whether Ireland should be united and ruled from Dublin or continue to be split into the Republic ruled from Dublin and the North ruled by London as part of the UK.

    I support St Mirren and also loathe reading lazy journalists talking about sectarianism as a problem afflicting teams from the West of Scotland... not an issue at St Mirren, Morton, Partick Thistle etc, just the Old Firm. I also find it amusing that people will talk about the SFA and referees favouring West Coast teams over and against East coast teams. Aberdeen have been awarded 7 penalties to St Mirren's 1 this season.

    My thoughts on the referee situation and Hugh Dallas sacking are that while Dallas deserved to be reprimanded for sending the email from his work account it was hypocrictical for the Catholic church in Scotland to demand his sacking... the SFA have dismissed more staff over an email joking in bad taste about the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church than the Catholic Church has dismissed for abusing kids in the first place. I'm sure that given the choice over which crime deserves sacking and police action the average member of the general public would say punish the people involved in the original abuse rather than those who forwarded an email joking about it.

    I am also infuriated by Celtic's behaviour and claims of being unfairly treated by the SFA, referees and now the media. I might be wrong but has 1 of their new signings (Hooper) not claimed that referees love giving decisions against Celtic to make a name for themselves, we've had Neil Lennon's rants, we've had Neil Lennon being subject of a police report for his behaviour at Tannadice, followed by going head to head with the 4th official at Tynecastle and being sent to the stand (victimised again!!!), followed by running on to the pitch and gesturing again when Celtic scored in injury time at St Mirren Park. Minutes after their winning goal you have Celtic fans, some of whom had also followed Lennon's lead and invaded the pitch and damaged advertising boards, making an official (and false!) complaint against a St Mirren ballboy which has to go to the procurator fiscal, and Celtic FC condemning St Mirren's DJ's behaviour as 'unacceptable' when he argued with Neil Lennon following his goal celebrations and gestures. Yet Celtic had nothing to say about their manager once again leaving his technical area to celebrate a goal just weeks after being reported by the police for his OTT behaviour at Tannadice and sent to the stand a few days earlier at Tynecastle. Celtic also said nothing about all their fans breaking the all seated rule at St Mirren Park and invading the pitch and damaging another club's property... something which also happened at Tynecastle and went unreported in the "anti-Celtic" media!

    The only upside in all of this has been that since Celtic launched their crusade against Dougie McDonald and other refs and the SFA, they've lost to Rangers, Hearts, and dropped points to Dundee United and Inverness and were within a minute of dropping points to St Mirren as well. Keep up the good work Neil Lennon, Hooper, John Reid and Peter Lawwell.

    I hope the SFA do launch an investigation into refereeing standards in Scotland. The Old Firm have been the biggest beneficiaries of spooky decisions over the years. I didn't hear Celtic wanting Eddie Smith's allegiance declared when he was giving them inexplicable match winning decsions against St Mirren or asking for clarification of why Artur Boruc only got a yellow card for his waist high challenge on Craig Dargo as the last defender in the last game between the teams at Love Street.

    The SFA need to stand up to Celtic's bullying tactics.

    If David Cameron and Barack Obama and the head of the UN were to speak out on Celtic's behalf about conspiracies among referees it would only come as a mild surprise... they need to move on from Dougie McDonald's decision 5 or 6 weeks ago. Chairman, managers and players all lie in the press on a regular basis and players integrity is often open to question with diving and trying to get opponents booked.

  • Comment number 53.

    If John Reid thinks Celtic get treated worse than other teams in Scotland he should enquire about what the stewards at St Mirren did to a few Aberdeen and Motherwell fans who tried to stand and watch the game instead of observe the all-seated rule in the ground. Celtic's fans were allowed to stand for the whole game but the Aberdeen and Motherwell fans were ejected for the same thing! Were any Celtic fans who invaded the pitch at St Mirren Park thrown out by stewards or charged by the police? Don't think so... but a St Mirren ball boy was charged and the DJ was 'carpeted' for arguing with Neil Lennon... speaking of which did Celtic condemn NL's behaviour? No the argument was all down to Phil behaving in an unaccepatble way.

    Btw, since they had scored an injury time winner could Celtic and their fans not just have enjoyed the moment instead of even then making up claims of being victimised?

  • Comment number 54.

    Question for Celtic supporters who believe refs have been biased:

    How many league titles do you think you would have won if there was no unfair discrimination?

  • Comment number 55.

    A couple thoughts.

    Has it been stated anywhere HOW the BBC got the copy of the e-mail? Just wondering.

    In light of the continual whining and moaning about the waning standards of refereeing in the Scottish game, why did it take THIS issue to sack the head of referee development?

    #54 They most likely believe they'd have deservedly won them all.

  • Comment number 56.

    What - STILL considered a "new member"?

  • Comment number 57.

    Start docking teams points for criticism of the officials, and maybe some of the heat will dissipate.

  • Comment number 58.

    As a man who craved the limelight during his refereeing career (watch the final whistle blown at the end of any televised game the bold Hugh just had to have the ball in his hand for maximum exposure)i get the feeling Mr Dallas is enjoying this whole debacle , after all his friends in the media will ensure he,s re-employed before long.

  • Comment number 59.

    I am a fan of the SPL,Celtic and of Scottish football in general. I want to see the SPL survive and thrive. However, I also want to see a level of integrity from the SFA that allows them to mitigate issues like these before they become full blown problems. McDonald lied and Dallas knew it. They should both be gone. McDonald may be a great guy in every other regard but he compromised his own integrity. The SFA calls itself into question because they hesitate to play it down the middle in many circumstances.

    No ref is going to be perfect but when you are not, then own up to a mistake. Yes, this does happen from time to time and kudos to those refs who do. The issue has been magnified by obvious misses (disallowed goals, hand balls, penalties) in matches featuring Celtic. I won't go as far as to say that Celtic would have won each of those matches but the decisions usually put the game out of reach of a comeback. C'est la Vie, they need to do better.

    Open the window and let new ideas in. Fresh air is often the best antiseptic for a system that has been compromised. I live in the USA and all of the major sports here: NFL,MLB,NBA and NHL have an apparatus to deal with questions on referee calls. The leagues don't wait, they take up issues quickly and report the findings up or down the same week it happens. This is a large country with a large avid fan base across multiple sports but we can trust in the integrity of our leagues and refs

  • Comment number 60.

    have a read of Scotland Yard: Is there too much pressure on referees?

  • Comment number 61.


    "EVERY CLUB IS GUILTY to a degree."

    You are so typical of Celtic fans. Boo Hoo - everyone's against us. And yet you share the title with Rangers year in, year out. And yet you won 9 titles in a row in the 60s/70s. And yet you won two titles in a row very recently.

    In short you simply have no idea of football outside your own little world that involves Celtic and Rangers ONLY. No-one else gets a second thought.

    As to your comment about every club being guilty to a degree, you are absolutely correct. It's just Celtic have been guilty to a much greater degree than anyone else:

    - NO club has a player who has said what Hooper said
    - NO club has a manager who has said what Lennon has said on the touchline and in interviews on so many occasions recently (Jim Jefferies it has to be remembered lost it on the touchline and apologised later when he saw the ref had made the right decision; Lennon has not apologised)
    - NO club has a director who has said what Reid said (the Hearts director said what MIGHT happen if refereeing standards weren't tightened up; Reid said Celtic had been discriminated against.)

    And it has to be remembered that Celtic's player, manager and director have not been punished in the same way as people at other clubs in recent years have.

    So Celtic - far from being victims - benefit from the fear refs, journalists and SFA suits have about saying the wrong thing or and being targeted by Celtic (and Rangers) lunatic fans who call them up and make threats or smash their house windows.

    Clubs like Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen actually suffer more because we don't have fans who threaten refs when a decision goes against us.

  • Comment number 62.

    For some reason removing a man who was 4th official in the 2002 World Cup from coaching referees is expected to improve their standard. In reality Dallas was clearly highly respected by the top level referees and the SFA have caved into pressure badly. If none of the refs are considering walking away at the moment then the SFA are very lucky, I know I would be.

  • Comment number 63.

    Can I just add that the Internet is really opening my eyes (and I assume many people's eyes in and outwith Scotland) about the true nature of Rangers and Celtic fans. Living in Edinburgh I'd only ever really encountered them when they arrived on their buses for games - and that was bad enough.

    The web has opened up the true extent of their bile to anyone who's looking in and Celtic has scored a massive own goal with this reffing fiasco as many more people are now aware of the true nature of the Old Firm rivalry. In England in particular, it's clear that the OF will never get anywhere near the EPL when just a quick internet seach for either club reveals simply horrendous material - none of it related to football.

    The fact that the Scotsman doesn't even allow comments on any OF thread, and yet allows anyone to post almost anything on the rest of the site, shows just how awful these 'supporters' are.

    Celtic need to be hammered hard by the SFA with a points deduction. It's the only way to sort this.

    They're only interested

  • Comment number 64.

    Any other person working for any other organisation, if found with an email like that in their inbox, would be sacked. Dallas got what he deserved and the SFA salvaged some credibility by sacking him.

    He made a mistake, and he paid for it. Scottish football will survive without Mr. Dallas. Now lets get on with the football.

  • Comment number 65.

    #Rabbity wrote "Celtic need to be hammered hard by the SFA with a points deduction. It's the only way to sort this."

    For what exactly? What's Celtic crime here?? Asking for a Referee who lied to Lennon to be sacked? Asking for some clarification about some blatantly incorrect decisions?

    McDonald should have been sacked, these decisions Celtic are questioning were shockers.

    Celtic never asked for Dallas to be sacked, he brought that on himself, and can everyone please remember Celtic and the Catholic church are not the same organisation.

  • Comment number 66.

    #59. Utter and self-servicing rubbish.

    You are so wrapped up in your own club's perceived grievances. You and your ilk are anti Scottish football. McDonald has fallen on his sword. Are you happy now ? Who else is going to fall victim to your manager's hysterical ravings ?

    Read #52 third para. Joking about child abuse within the RC church IS in very poor taste. But sack someone for it ? My family have periphal experience going back to seminary experience in the 70s. I have not been to mass since.

    Take your poison away from MY game. Have'nt a clue who would have anything to do with you however.

  • Comment number 67.

    Old Firm has eaten itself

    Scottish Football R.I.P.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    SPENCY. THOUGHT YOU WERE AN INTELLIGENT GUY NOT LIKE BITTER AND TWISTED DODDSY. when will you retract you comment reference DABS BEING THE WORKING CLASS TEAM IN DUNDEE. are you a bile infested character like the rest of the dabs.

  • Comment number 70.


    Go to any Chapel of a Sunday, as I used to, and you can hear a message of love, tolerance and forgiveness.

    In REALITY however, why was the CChurch going public with that type of message before the end game between a man and his employer? A man who forwarded an e-mail? It really was none of their business at that point and I was very surprised they did that at that point in time.

    The other lot of paranoids will probably ask whether there was collusion between Celtic and the Church? Lets face it and not kid ourselves on here, if it was the other way round I can think of many Celtic supporters who would be asking themselves exactly the same question.

  • Comment number 71.


    Who told the LIE to the referee observer and an SPL manager?

    Answer = "Dougie, Dougie" McDonald

    Who thought it was funny to send an e-mail referring to child
    abuse and the Pope?

    Answer = Hugh Dallas

    THEY were in the wrong.

    That said, I don't condone Neil Lennon's touchline behaviour
    nor do I support all of John Reid's actions in the past week
    or two.

    However, I for one am glad that they pursued "Dougie, Dougie"
    McDonald and Hugh Dallas with vigor until the were removed
    from their posts.

    Had Dougie done the right thing weeks ago, there would have
    been no referee's strike, no SFL clubs would have suffered.

    "Dougie, Dougie" was too slow on the uptake and thought he
    could just ride out this storm.

    Good riddance to Dougie and Hugh.

  • Comment number 72.

    I honestly can't believe what I've seen and heard over the past few weeks in regards to the ineptitude of our referees. Neil Lennon's reaction to in fairness, a poorly handled decision was over the top. Screaming and swearing in a referee's face is out of order and in my opinion warrants a harsher punishment than what he recieved. If a paramedic arrives at the scene of an accident and recieves the same sort of abuse, then they can walk away without treating the person. Referees don't have the same sort of rights yet have to suffer abuse from several thousand people every week. For now however I think we should attribute Lennon's recent outbursts to inexperience as a manager as of over the past week or so he seems to have calmed.

    The problem as I see it is not limited to Scottish football and lies in the attitude of the players. They seem to believe that the referee should be helping them to win the game and hand the game to them on a plate. A prime example being how players 'earn' penalties. No player earns a penalty, it is a punishment of a serious mistake by the other team and referees should not give into this type of culture. The referee's job is made incredibly difficult by these types of players and it is not made easier when managers choose to blame referees instead of the players. People should remember that if players (and managers for that matter) attempted to play by the rules then there would be no need for referees.

  • Comment number 73.

    Well well, We had a weekend of a level playing field for all teams in the SPL by using referees from other countries, This is surly the way to go for the future and let our refs deal with games elsewhere.
    Does anybody out there execpt old firm fans agree. A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL.

  • Comment number 74.

    “Things may never be the same again in Scottish football ………”

    May …..?

    Make that – will never be the same again.

    #27 calls Scottish football a joke but at the risk of sounding like Chic Young, Scottish football bears more resemblance to a War Zone and with the latest departure in Dougie McDonald I have to wonder who next.

    And all in the pursuit of that which we Scots truly excel at – negativity.

    You mentioned Jim, on Sportsound recently when commenting on the divisions between the two sets of Dundee supporters and you blamed this divide on the internet. Care to comment on what effect the internet has on the referee matter?

    Nobody (and I include the catholic Church and supporters) involved with this whole affair comes out of this with any degree of credit. Dallas and McDonald are no doubt seen as worthwhile scalps for some gloating trophy hunters but what positives can we take out if this?

    I have to say I’m struggling to make my mind up if Scottish football will be better or worse for having been through this.

    It would be interesting to see what others think in that respect.

  • Comment number 75.

    I won't go as far as to say that Celtic would have won each of those matches but the decisions usually put the game out of reach of a comeback.

    What utter nonsense. Are Celtic now unable to come back from two goal deficits? Look at what ICT did yesterday to us. They just kept at it and clawed their way back. And well done to them, they made their own 'game changing decisions' without the sulking, the touchline posturing and the psychiatrist's chair blame game.

    I must be one of those Celtic supporters who are just embarrassed every time I hear nonsense like that, or nonsense about having the 'strength' and 'mentality' to win games against opposition that we can afford to spend more on one player than they can on their entire team and squad!! Juarez - £4m on a player who sits on the bench!!! Get a grip.

    And Hearts fans have such a decent reputation? You lot have your own sectarian choir but you appear to be Bambi and not hear any of it. Next time you are at tynecastle (if you go!) just listen out and maybe you can stop blaming others for something thats in your ground as well.

    'Take your poison away from MY game'

    Agreed. But just remember, what goes around comes around.

  • Comment number 76.

    #75 Aye a few bampots in one tiny corner of the ground who only show up when Celtic are in town (and who are roundly condemned by everyone at Tynecastle) is just as bad as the entire Rangers support in full Rule Britannia mode right enough!

    So, to summarise:

    Celtic are massively discriminated against by the SFA, referees and everyone who disagrees with them about anything (oh, apart from every year or two when everyone forgets to discriminate against them and they are allowed to in the league)

    And it's all in fact Hearts fault.

    There we go then, debate over.

  • Comment number 77.

    I find it incredible that the Catholic Church can step in to force a referee to resign because of an email but they fail to take action against the perverted priests within the church these so called men of God.

  • Comment number 78.

    Unfortunately some people obviously don't know the difference between satire and sectarianism. The catholic church have no right to take any moral high ground on the issue that the email in question is highlighting. One of the sharpest tools society has in bringing down corruption and wrongdoing is well aimed, widely circulated satire.

    Yes, Dallas shouldn't have sent on the email through his work account. However, are the thousands of people over the country who did exactly the same going to be sacked? Are they now classed as sectarian? It's a worrying trend that an organisation such as the SFA has had to bow to the lobbying of a religious group. What authority does any religious group have to demand the sacking of anyone outwith their own organisation? Particularly one that has been shown in this instance to cover-up far, far worse actions by it's own employess.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    Kid yourself on about the incidence and the scale.

  • Comment number 81.

    #80 Nope, think I can safely say I have more experience of Tynecastle than you. Hearts has never to my knowledge been censured or warned for dodgy song books - unlike Celtic and Rangers (both of which get warned on a regular basis). And Hearts has never had any sort of policy on not signing RCs. No Hearts fans have ever complained when players cross themselves on the pitch at Tynecastle and religion plays no part in the club. Rule Britannia and God Save the Queen are loudly booed when Rangers come to town and sing those ditties.

  • Comment number 82.

    The sooner the old firm join the English league the better. We'll have a more competitive (hopefully 16 team) premier league and they'll find out just how good they are.

  • Comment number 83.

    Seriously don't understand what was wrong.

    Chick Young did become referees defender listen to any Sportsound from last week. He does go on about his best friend Walter and used to talk lovingly about David.

    Dundee U do also get a rough deal from referees against Rangers. Jim should be able to agree with that.

    Hugh Dallas made a silly decision to back his friend McDonald and another one when he forwarded the contentious email. He did deserve to lose his job. Same goes with McDonald he omitted/deceived Lennon so cannot be trusted.

    SFA chain of power


    The other 40 clubs.

  • Comment number 84.

    I hear that the reason the Luxemburg ref was selected ahead of the israeli ref to do the celtic game was due to the Celtic/ Palestinian alliance and the rangers / israeli one.
    But seriously , I think that Billy mc Neil should have a chat with neil lennon and tell him all about the way that Big Jock would uphold the dignity of his great club

  • Comment number 85.

    Post #71 - Absolutely 100% spot on.

  • Comment number 86.

    Integrity and lies- Dallas goes and McDonald goes.

    Is it not time to look at the real culprit? Reid at Celtic- is he truthful and does he have integrity?

    This is a rhetorical question!

  • Comment number 87.

    And those experiences of Tynecastle must make you so used to it, you can ignore the unsavoury aspects. Lets look at your criteria.

    Censure/Warned: Rangers have, Celtic have not and not even ONCE never mind a regular basis.

    Recruitment of RC's: Rangers didn't, Celtic did.

    Hearts complaints against blessing: Rangers fans have, Celtic fans haven't.

    So its seems by your criteria that the problem is clearly not with both sides of the OF. Also that your club have a sizeable vocal section who sing sectarian songs similar to Rangers fans. I would suggest that its easier to point at others than look at yourselves. After all you are not known among other fans as the Purple 'ones' for nothing!

  • Comment number 88.

    #78 - Like I said earlier nobody comes out of this with any credit.

    The Catholic church may well have questions to answer and there are people who would suggest that Scottish football has likewise covered up wrong doings of a similar nature. What about press murmurings sometime ago about a registered paedophile appointed as a youth coach.

    No names were mentioned and the story conveniently went nowhere as I remember, but don’t tell me that such a story, if it were true, wouldn’t have repercussions all the way to the top and I can’t help but wonder how the SFA would handle that one.

    Would you expect to see the club chairman publically slapped down by the SFA or would it be handled internally in a discrete fashion?

    One man’s discretion is another man’s cover up.

    If we are to take positives from this then Stewart Regan has to be given powers to act as a proper Chief Executive and not be hampered by the SFA Executive Board as Gordon Smith alluded to in an interview last week.

    Scottish football carries too much baggage and we shouldn’t be piling onto Stewart Regan.

  • Comment number 89.

    Peter Kearney- should he not be asked to be open about which team he supports the way Dr Reid would like?
    That would remove any theories of collusion between the catholic church statement and celtic- if indeed he does support celtic. Maybe he doesn't but let him follow Reid's request for openness!!
    Anyone agree/ disagree?

  • Comment number 90.

    people seem to be linking celtic with the hugh dallas incident.

    can someone tell me what official comment the club has made or what actions they havw taken that have contributed to this?

    did celtic force him to send the email? did they leak it to the press? did they make the decision on his case?

  • Comment number 91.

    For all those pinning the blame on Celtic for stirring all this up:

    Celtic have made no comment whatsoever about Dallas. None.
    Dougie Mcdonald says that Neil Lennon was nothing other than completely civil to him after the United match. Lennon subsequently said he expected an apology, but nothing else.
    John Reid said McDonald should go because he'd lied. Regan seems to agree. Referee Charlie Richmond agreed with Reid that a referee lying makes it difficult to encourage trust in referees.

    All Celtic have done is complained to the SFA about the key decisions they feel have gone against them. This is a channel that is open to every club in the SPL. It seems this, now that Regan is in charge of the SFA, is leading to greater transparency and accountability within the SFA. This is a good thing for any club that values high standards of officiating within our game.

  • Comment number 92.

    It seems odd that the church (very publicly) call for the sacking of a referee for the heinous crime of passing on an email mocking the pope. They seem more concerned with the punishment of Hugh Dallas than the subject of the mockery, the very real crimes committed by members of their church down through the decades on defenceless children. Far be it from me to suggest that any punishment meted out should be directed towards these people. The timing of their public call is also suspect, although they claim they're not wading in to the referee's row and it's a "separate" matter. Aye right!

  • Comment number 93.

    I hope everyone who thinks justice has been served by the removal of Dallas and McDonald will be just as smug when Neil Lennon is dealt with in the same harsh terms for his diabolical behaviour which was witnessed by the entire football watching nation (only basic lip reading skills needed) and which even he accepts was a little over the top.

    While I can see that Dallas and MaDonald's going was inevitable (the media were never going to let it go in any case) any even handed person would expect Lennon to be severely censured as well. Doubtless that will take us back to square one.

    I get the feeling its going to be the January window before we get back to discussing football - this blog is becoming a cross between the Daily Politics show and Thought for today...... c'mon folks, geez a break.

  • Comment number 94.


    "All Celtic have done is complained to the SFA about the key decisions they feel have gone against them."

    Come on, Celtic have always suggested that refs & the SFA have been biased against them. That's what John Reid alluded to when he said 'those days are gone'. Does he have any proof of discrimination against Celtic?

    Aiden McGeady on old firm ref last season: "It's safe to say he wasn’t impartial the other day." Hooper has made similar claims this year. They aren't claiming refs are incompetent, they're accusing officials of cheating.

    Celtic have been insinuating that refs are corrupt for decades. If they have evidence of this, let's bring it into the open and take action. If they don't, it's time to grow up and stop blaming officials for their own deficiencies on the park.

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.


    Reid inferred that the establishment used to be biased against Celtic, and said that he no longer thinks this is the case.

    Lennon has gone on record to say that he thinks the decisions that have gone against Celtic were mistakes.

    And I wouldn't build a case on what one young player says straight after a match. Off the top of my head, Peter Houston made pretty similar comments against a ref after a game more recently than that. Do Dundee United also have to put up or shut up?

    Under what circumstances would you agree that Celtic were criticising refereeing standards rather than integrity?

  • Comment number 97.

    Lennon has gone on record to say that he thinks the decisions that have gone against Celtic were mistakes.

    In an interview given to Herald before the OF game Mark he described the decisions in previous OF games last season as 'honest mistakes', the same terminology as used by many at present. The interviewer, a pro-Celtic journalist, even described Lennon as using the phrase in an ironic fashion.

    Now even I as a Celtic fan know exactly what Neil meant.

    If you think that Reid and Lennon are completely unaware of the types of issues they were dragging up with refs during all of this episode last season and now this, you must credit them with far less intelligence than I do.

  • Comment number 98.

    So Lennon said honest mistakes, and the journalist printed it as 'honest mistakes'.

    What was George Peat saying about innuendo?

  • Comment number 99.


    "Under what circumstances would you agree that Celtic were criticising refereeing standards rather than integrity?"

    After the DU game Lennon said "There was a lot of confusion [after the penalty] and the incident wasn't explained to me so I guess we'll have to put it down to another honest mistake". He goes on to put it in context of "a long line of decisions gone against us over the last 18 months".

    This isn't just one comment by Aiden McGeady - who was excused because he was a 'young' player (23) and probably didn't know what 'impartial' meant.

  • Comment number 100.


    The Neil Lennon honest mistake video is on youtube, have a look: even Aiden McGeady could see the subtext.


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