CELTIC manager Ronny Deila has called for referees to explain their decisions post-match following his team’s controversial William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Inverness.
Referee Steven McLean sparked a furore by failing to penalise Josh Meekings after the Caley Thistle defender used an arm to block a goalbound header by Leigh Griffiths with the Hoops winning 1-0 at Hampden Park on Sunday.
Deila’s dream of a treble ended in a 3-2 extra-time defeat but the ramifications began with the Parkhead club writing to the Scottish Football Association “seeking an understanding” of the incident.
Meekings was offered a one-game suspension by SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan but the 22-year-old won his appeal on Thursday after an independent three-person judicial panel tribunal ruled the case should not have been brought in the first place.
Ahead of the trip to Dundee United on Sunday, Deila was asked if referees, in the bid for more transparency, should be allowed to explain their decisions.
“Why not?” said the Norwegian boss. “What is the problem? I can’t understand. Everybody has to stand up.
In Norway the referees are talking to the newspapers and saying ‘I am sorry I missed it’. Just be humble and say how you felt instead of sitting and not saying anythingRonny Deila
“To be open and honest is important and then we can stop talking about this for weeks.
“If I was the referee after that match and he knew what happened, I would say ‘I didn’t see it. I am very very, sorry, I should have done better’ and what more can anyone say?
“In Norway the referees are talking to the newspapers and saying ‘I am sorry I missed it’.
“Just be humble and say how you felt. Instead of sitting and not saying anything. It is better to answer and then we move on.”
Deila also demanded errant officials should have to suffer the consequences of poor decisions, notwithstanding they are already marked by assessors in the stand.
The former Stromsgodset boss said: “The referees have been good. I don’t have any problems with them at all.
“But this incident was so crucial and I was very disappointed. You will never get it back.
“Everybody can make mistakes but if we make those mistakes as a team or as an individual, there are consequences.
“If the players perform badly, they get dropped from the team and criticised in newspapers.
“It is the same with the refs, there has to be consequences. Go after the player, maybe, but that is not the biggest issue.
“It is about not seeing an incident that is so clear, that is what we are talking about.
“He made that choice to save the ball, you know the consequences but he didn’t get those consequences.
“It is not fair but they didn’t see it so we have to move on.”
Celtic face Dundee United at Tannadice tomorrow, just weeks after the sides met four times in quick succession in the league, League Cup and Scottish Cup – a run of fixtures which effectively ended United’s hopes of achieving any significant success this season.
United manager Jackie McNamara hopes tomorrow’s match can bring out the best in his side as they attempt to return to winning ways.
The Tangerines have had to endure a tough spell of late and last weekend’s 1-0 league defeat at Aberdeen came after they had ended a ten-game winless streak at home to Hamilton the previous weekend.
United are still fourth but their form of late has taken the shine off what had looked a very promising season as recently as January, but McNamara sees no better time than to start getting results again than when Deila’s champions-elect roll up on Tayside for this weekend’s televised meeting.
McNamara said: “It’s got the makings of a very good game. They don’t come much bigger than Celtic at home.
“We know what’s at stake and we want to finish the season as strongly as possible.
“We won’t need any motivating for Sunday’s match because it’s live on television and there’s a lot of interest.
“You always hope an occasion like this can bring out the best in the players.
“That’s the way we’ve got to look at it and hopefully it will come Sunday.”
McNamara has every respect for Deila and the job he has done since taking charge at Parkhead, but will not let their visitors overawe them.
He said: “Ronny has done a good job.
“We know they’re a strong side but we just have to look after ourselves.
“We have to focus on what we’re good at and hope to play that way on Sunday. There’s still a lot to play for between now and the end of the season. Celtic will have their own aims in mind and so do we. We want to finish as high up the table as we can. We know it won’t be easy but we will give it our best shot. We want the three points and will try to win like we do any other game.”