Lukasz Zaluska recalls ‘strange’ refereeing display at Ibrox

Nacho Novo bends the ball past Lukasz Zaluska to double Rangers' advantage over Dundee United in 2008. Picture: SNS
Nacho Novo bends the ball past Lukasz Zaluska to double Rangers' advantage over Dundee United in 2008. Picture: SNS
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Ex-Dundee United keeper Lukasz Zaluska has claimed he and his team-mates were on the end of a “strange” refereeing performance during an infamous end-of-season encounter with Rangers in 2008.

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Speaking on the Glasgow Is Green podcast, the Polish goalkeeper recalled the fury in the United camp after the game, though he disagreed with the interviewer’s take that his side were cheated out of the points.

Needing a victory to stay in the chase for a Europa League spot, United lost 3-1 at Ibrox in a match where a pair of highly controversial calls went against them.

Craig Levein was later fined £5,000 for an explosive post-match interview in which he accused match official Mike McCurry of failing to have the “b***s” to award his United side a penalty, while also wrongly disallowing a goal for offside.

The result kept Rangers in poll position in the title race, which they would eventually lose to rivals Celtic. Zaluska would sign for the champions in a pre-contract deal just over six months later.

Dundee United manager Craig Levein remonstrates with referee Mike McCurry. Picture: SNS

Dundee United manager Craig Levein remonstrates with referee Mike McCurry. Picture: SNS

He said: “That was something strange. It was such an important game for who was going to win the title. We scored a goal from distance and referee gave it as offside.

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“There were a lot of things in this game that were strange. I don’t know why, to be honest.

“Dundee United are not the biggest team in Scotland. Referees, if it was 50-50 between Rangers and Dundee United, they will give it to Rangers.

Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska shows his black eye after the incident in Ashton Lane. Picture: SNS

Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska shows his black eye after the incident in Ashton Lane. Picture: SNS

“That was strange because we had a great opportunity to win at Ibrox. I remember after the game the whole dressing room was angry.

“I don’t think [it was cheating]. Everyone makes mistakes. These sort of things happen in football.”

Zaluska was also quizzed on an incident which took place in October 2014, where the keeper was left unconscious in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane after being punched by then-Dundee United midfielder Paul Paton.

Paton was fined £500 for the attack, which was said to have taken place after Zaluska responded to meeting Paton by saying he wanted to “kill all Rangers fans”, according to testimony at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

However, the 35-year-old insists he was not at fault, and was a victim of bad luck.

He added: “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe I said too much for the Rangers supporters and maybe I shouldn’t. But in the end it wasn’t my fault. Maybe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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