Five blatant handballs that footballers got away with

Josh Meekings' infamous handball in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic. Picture: SNS
Josh Meekings' infamous handball in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic. Picture: SNS
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David McCracken’s handball in the first leg of the Premiership play-offs against Hibernian may be the most blatant that the game in this country has seen and not been penalised. Here are five others examples that the officials also missed.

Josh Meekings v Celtic

Last season featured an infamous incident that was not spotted by Steven McLean in the Scottish Cup semi final.

Celtic had been on course for the treble. All that stood in their way from another visit to Hampden in May was Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The Hoops were rampant and had taken the lead through Virgil van Dijk after 18 minutes. An onslaught ensued on Ryan Esson’s goalmouth for the majority of the match and nearing the end of the opening 45 Leigh Griffith’s header was denied by an outstretched Josh Meekings hand. Yet, neither the referee nor his assistants stopped the game for the clear denial of a goalscoring opportunity.

The Caley Jags came storming back in the second half, defeated Celtic after extra-time and went on to play and beat Falkirk in the final for their first cup triumph in their 21-year existence.

READ MORE - Hibs boss Alan Stubbs demands ref explains handball decision

Thierry Henry v Ireland

In the second leg of the 2010 World Cup qualification play-off between France and Ireland, Thierry Henry handled the ball to keep it in play. Through that action he set up William Gallas for the winning goal in extra time.

Swedish referee Martin Hansson missed the incident at the byline which sent the 2006 holders to the finals, which was a dismal failure. Training ground bust-ups and a coup against manager Raymond Domenech saw an embarrassing French outfit eliminated at the group stage.

Diego Maradona v England

World Cup 1986 was punctuated by one man’s brilliance: Diego Maradona. His second goal against England in the quarter finals, when he manoeuvres his way around numerous white shirted defenders, is something rarely seen.

However, his first four minutes earlier still riles with the Three Lions faithful to this day. The short, stocky playmaker rose above goalkeeper Peter Shilton (who is eight inches taller than the FIFA Player of the Century) and punched the ball into the net.

Argentina would go on to win the World Cup for the second and, to this date, last time.

READ MORE - Why David McCracken’s handball should have been a penalty

Lionel Messi v Espanyol

21 years later, Maradona’s successor to the throne of world football replicated his exploits in 2007. Albeit not on the same grand stage.

Against city rivals Espanyol and one nil down at home, a low cross into the box was deflected up in the air. An onrushing Messi then stuck out his hand and pushed the ball into the empty net. The entire starting XI made their way towards the officials to no avail as the goal stood and a draw was the final outcome.

Raul v Leeds United

In a 2001 Champions League tie at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid edged out their English counterparts 3-2. The biggest talking point was an incident that everyone bar Ryszard Wojcik and his Polish linesmen managed to see.

The Spanish striker had got on the end of Figo’s whipped free kick to punch past Nigel Martyn and equalise after Alan Smith gave Leeds an early lead.

If that did not smart enough for United fans, Raul would pop up in the second half to score the winner for los Blanco who were eliminated at the semi final stage.

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Stubbs blasts handball ref | John Collins eyes United job | Rodgers in line for new Celtic talks

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