Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has heaped praise on the standard of Scottish refereeing and questioned what he regards as imbalanced scrutiny from BT Sport of contentious decisions which have gone in his team’s favour over the past week.
Rodgers leapt to the defence of referee Alan Muir, who was widely criticised for only booking Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon for a high challenge on Alloa striker Greig Spence during Wednesday’s Betfred Cup quarter-final, insisting the official made the correct call and was “outstanding” throughout the 90 minutes. The incident involving Gordon followed referee Don Robertson’s decision to wave play on last Sunday when Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko clipped Inverness midfielder Ross Draper on the edge of the penalty area, prompting many observers, including home boss Richie Foran to claim the Scottish champions should have been reduced to 10 men instead.
Robertson then took charge of Rangers’ Betfred Cup quarter-final against Queen of the South on Tuesday and was criticised for only administering a yellow card to the Ibrox club’s winger Harry Forrester for a studs-up foul on Jordan Marshall.
BT Sport carried live coverage of all three games and Rodgers was left perplexed by the respective degrees of analysis applied to the various incidents.
“The referee called it absolutely perfect on Wednesday,” said Rodgers. “In that instance, and in the overall game, he was outstanding.
“The ball was played over the top, Kolo Toure was in the race with the Alloa striker. Craig has made the decision to come, he is 6ft 4ins with big long legs, he stretches for it and mistimes it. There are two players behind the ball – it’s a yellow card.
“What doesn’t help is when the video footage is shown 14 times. We played at Inverness and Sviatchenko’s tackle was shown 26 times. I saw similar games with similar profile over the course of the last week, where a player arguably should have been sent off, and the video was shown twice.
“It would be interesting (to hear from BT Sport), just to see why there is that difference. I know modern-day football is about sensationalism. Celtic is a huge club with massive interest in it. But Craig’s incident is just a mis-timed tackle.
“The referee was very good, so let’s give them praise and not highlight something like that. I think it is so unfair on the referees, I really do.
“Alan made another brilliant call in the game where the Alloa guy made a foul, he let play go on and then comes back to give the yellow card. That’s brilliant refereeing.
“He also gave a card to Tom Rogic (for simulation) which was spot-on. So I’m not just talking about one incident, I’m talking about the game overall where the ref was spot-on.
“In my experience up here, in the main the referees have been very, very good. They’re giving honest decisions from what I see and they manage games very well.”