Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday has called on Scottish football’s ruling bodies to reconsider their disciplinary procedures, in particular the rule which prevents players from appealing against a dismissal when it consists of two cautions.
Straight red cards are subject to appeal and video technology will be utilised to re-assess the incident in question, but justice cannot be similarly applied when it comes to the issuing of yellow cards.
Halliday has already experienced the former, when he was ordered off for striking Hibernian’s Fraser Fyvie, who had gone to ground clutching his face during their meeting at Ibrox on 28 December.
Television evidence proved that Halliday had barged his rival in the chest, the red card was rescinded and Fyvie received a two-game suspension for simulation.
However, Halliday, who had already been booked, was shown a second yellow card after raising his fist in the middle of the pitch to celebrate his side’s second goal in a 2-0 victory over Morton at Cappielow on 25 January. Assistant referee David McKniff alerted referee Barry Cook, believing that the 24-year-old’s gesture was likely to incite home supporters.
“It was probably the lowest point I have had in my Rangers career,” he admitted yesterday as he promoted a four-match ticket package for the home games against Morton, Queen of the South, Dumbarton and Alloa Athletic.
“When it comes twice in the space of three or four weeks you just want answers, it’s as simple as that. With the structure we have in place you can’t appeal two bookings. Hopefully, they will change that come the end of the season.
“The disappointing thing for me was seeing our video analysis from the stand directly behind the linesman’s view. We could see what happened.
“I did nothing; I celebrated a goal. It’s disappointing. What I will say is that I am not the only one. I saw Jason Cummings’ sending off against Hearts. It was a similar situation.
“What chance have you got? Jason has had nothing but stick for four or five months over allegations and silly comments and he goes into a derby and scores a winning goal and he can’t celebrate it?
“It’s not on, really. If that sparks a riot then anything on a football park will.”
Halliday revealed that he has yet to receive an explanation for his dismissal, which rendered him ineligible for the following weekend’s 1-0 win over Falkirk.
“If you get sent off you can’t approach officials, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “You don’t want to completely change the rules so you can appeal after every two bookable offences.
“But in an outstanding situation like that you would like to think that common sense prevails and something will get done.
“If you play for Rangers, it’s a 24/7 lifestyle – you get abuse no matter where you go. We’re big enough characters to accept that but the one thing you’re going to enjoy is a Saturday when your team is scoring goals and, if you take that away from us, then you’re taking the fun away.
“I would completely understand if I had walked towards the Morton fans or ran towards them but I was in the centre circle and, five seconds after that fist pump, I’ve turned round to go again from the kick-off.
“Like I’ve said from day dot I think it was unjustified. Whether the linesman thinks he’s made a mistake, I’ll never know.”
Halliday pointedly underplayed his celebration when he scored the only goal of the game against Raith Rovers – who visit Ibrox tonight – at Stark’s Park last month, simply shaking hands with team-mates.
“It was a bit of tongue-in-cheek banter and I’m glad that was taken in the right way,” he explained. “That goal meant a little bit more to me, obviously, because of the celebrations the week before and it went onto be the winner, which was nice.
“But, when you look at it, the celebrations weren’t much different. Going on the first sending off against Hibs, when I look back, from Bobby Madden’s angle it was a red card. Bobby has evaluated it and he only sees it once in a game.
“He’s seen the replay later and saw there was no contact and, when he refereed a game at Ibrox three or four weeks later, he was the first one to come to the changing room and apologise.
“I said: ‘No problem, we are all human’ and we moved on. That’s not been the case in the other game.”