Why Bobby Madden blew up for Jota injury in Celtic v Hearts, angering Hearts boss Robbie Neilson, and his previous

Celtic's 1 - 0 win over Hearts was a captivating affair on Thursday night punctuated by controversial refereeing decisions.

Bobby Madden's officiating angered Hearts players and management. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Bobby Madden's officiating angered Hearts players and management. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Kyogo Furuhashi’s winning goal which secured the three points for Ange Postecoglou, allowing them to close the gap to Rangers, at the top of the cinch Premiership, prompted much debate as the Japanese forward appeared to be offside.

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson was equally perplexed by a decision made by referee Bobby Madden in the second half with the visitors in the ascendancy.

Celtic winger Jota had the ball in his own half and was running across the centre of the pitch. Under pressure from Gary Mackay-Steven he pulled up with a hamstring complaint.

Peter Haring picked up possession and was ready to charge forward with Liam Boyce ahead of him just outside the Celtic box when Madden pulled the game back.

As soon as the official blew the whistle he raised his hands almost apologetically.

Neilson said:” I’d end up going to jail if I said what I really think about it.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. The boy pulls his hamstring and the referee stops the game and gives them the ball back when we’re going to counter-attack.

"But that’s Scottish football, you’re in Glasgow.”

Referee duty

Law 5.3 of the IFAB laws of the game focuses on the referee’s power and duties. Within that is injuries.

A referee has a duty to stop “play if a player is seriously injured and ensures that the player is removed from the field of play”.

The question remains if a hamstring injury can be deemed as 'serious’. Otherwise the referee “allows play to continue until the ball is out of play if a player is only slightly injured”.

Jota was replaced by Mikey Johnston due to the injury.

It is not the first time Madden has made such a decision. While officiating a Premier Sports Cup clash between Hibs and Kilmarnock, he pulled back play when Kyle Magennis picked up the ball in a promising area after Killie defender Chris Stokes pulled up with a hamstring injury which saw him replaced.

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