Why Alfredo Morelos should probably have been sent off at Firhill

Rangers' Alfredo Morelos (right) clashes with Jordan Turnbull. Picture: SNSRangers' Alfredo Morelos (right) clashes with Jordan Turnbull. Picture: SNS
Rangers' Alfredo Morelos (right) clashes with Jordan Turnbull. Picture: SNS
In the latest edition of Ref Review we look at three decisions from Friday night's game between Partick Thistle and Rangers which went in favour of the visitors. An article looking at the decisions which went against Rangers was uploaded earlier today.
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I’m sort of conflicted about the Alfredo Morelos “kicking” incident, but ultimately I think he probably should have been sent off. It’s easy to write off as handbags, but in fact most of the aggression is one sided here, which is important.

Jordan Turnbull has a little grab of him initially, which should have been a foul, but then Morelos holds him by the shirt and aims three separate “kicks” at him. On their own, none of the kicks were particularly violent. To be sent off for “violent conduct” the contact can’t be “negligible” or a red card isn’t necessary. This is the case in this incident, with all three kicks not exactly hurting Turnbull to any real extent. But when it forms a sustained period of fairly one-sided aggression, the referee has to look at it a bit differently.

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Picture OnePicture One
Picture One

At the very least, you’d expect a yellow card for “unsporting behaviour”. This is basically a catch-all for anything which isn’t specifically included under any of the other yellow card offences.

It’s really surprising that Willie Collum allowed play to continue. he should have stopped it to have a word with the players, as it had the potential to boil over at that point.

Morelos was then involved in the incident which saw Chris Erskine sent off. There can be no complaints here from the Partick Thistle man - indeed, there wasn’t - as he lunged in with a high straight leg, and at fairly high speed too. It was both excessive force and endangering an opponent, and he had to go.

The final high-profile decision which went for Rangers came in the build-up to their equalising goal. Christie Elliott’s header hits off Josh Windass before going out off play, but the referee gives a throw-in to Rangers and the hosts never get the ball back before it ends up in the back of the net.

Picture OnePicture One
Picture One

This is a weird one. The best explanation we can offer is that the assistant referee doesn’t see the ball strike Windass because Elliott’s body is in the way (Picture One, above) and Collum, who would have saw the contact from his angle, assumed the linesman was giving the throw-in to Rangers because the ball had crossed the line before coming off the midfielder.

Play restarts quite quickly and they don’t have time to discuss the decision. It’s hard for officials in such instances because having a proper discussion about every throw-in would lead to a lot of delays in the game, and would also potentially serve to undermine the assistants, since it would look like they were regularly being overruled.

It should be noted that the ball went away back to Rangers’ defenders and play rolled on for about 15-20 seconds before the goal. It’s not like they immediately launched that back into the box and it led directly to the goal.

• Craig Anderson is a former fully qualified referee. He is also the man behind SPL Stats on Twitter.


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