The diabolical decision of the SFA fast-track tribunal panel to dismiss an Inverness appeal against James Keatings’ yellow card, in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup semi-final, forced the Highlanders to publicly question whether the disciplinary system is fit for purpose.
In doing so, they’re not short of company.
If they were lined up, the critics of the governing body could stretch the length of the Great Wall of China.
But with the ineptitude of the Keatings decision, the tribunal outdid even their zaniest bad calls. It was astonishingly poor judgement.
Even Gary Lineker chipped in to criticise the incomprehensible view of the panel, which failed to see what someone wearing a blindfold would’ve spotted – that Keatings, booked for diving, was clearly and obviously bundled off the ball.
He was completely innocent of simulation, as it’s politely called these days.
Sometimes a referee can be excused, as can an appeals panel in dealing with situations which are tight to call and open to subjective assessment.
Not even close to a dive. Would be an injustice to miss a cup final for this. https://t.co/WhfJxZcweX
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 20, 2020
Keatings, though, was clearly and solidly barged off the ball, and in judging his subsequent crash to the ground as a dive, both the referee and the panel are guilty of the kind of myopia which would have embarrassed Cyclops.
It’s the type of decision that allows conspiracy theorists a field day.
In truth, with the panel having viewed three different camera angles, showing with diamond clarity that Keatings was fouled, it’s impossible to cut them any slack.
The decision is a disgrace and makes our officials look like bumbling amateurs.
James Keatings now misses a cup final due to a decision which defies rational explanation.
The clubs are the SFA though and until they call a halt to this level of ineptitude, they’ll allow incompetence to flourish, damaging our game’s reputation in the wider world.
On the pitch at least, and away from the incompetence of officialdom, the week provided three thrilling matches that prove the game’s never over till the plump individual sings.
St Mirren held a 4-1 lead at Motherwell only for the Steelmen to battle back to level things, forcing the game to extra time before cruelly losing a penalty shoot-out to exit the Scottish Cup.
Twenty-four hours later Aberdeen broke Kilmarnock hearts in a barnstorming cup thriller at Rugby Park, nicking the game 4-3 in extra time.
The glorious battle featured a last-minute penalty and own-goal winner, with an epic performance from Dons veteran Andy Considine.
To complete a magnificently entertaining week, Rangers – who’d looked down and out at two behind to Braga with thirty minutes left – invoked a comeback to outdo Lazarus, with a superb three-goal burst that gives them a great chance in the Europa League return leg.
It’s the kind of week which, despite the shambolic officiating decisions mentioned earlier, restores faith in the beautiful game.
Pride, passion, persistence, were all manifest in those three magnificent matches, with each providing the kind of frenetic football that makes the sport so compelling, and so capable of playing havoc with the blood pressure.