Celtic fans were left in up in arms last yesterday afternoon at the comments of former Rangers striker Kris Boyd on Sky Sports (01/09/19). Speaking as a pundit for the Old Firm derby game the former Scotland striker suggested that Callum McGregor should have seen a red card for a challenge on Scott Arfield.
“This one for me is a red card. I think he’s late, the ball’s already away. (Referee) Bobby Madden’s right in front of it, you can see Callum McGregor there, just a lunge.”
Celtic fans were right to feel aggrieved with the comment. There is no chance the challenge on the Canadian international was worthy of a red card.
However, McGregor was lucky to stay on the pitch for 90 minutes.
Whilst not a red, the challenge certainly warranted a yellow card. Bobby Madden decided that was not the case. But McGregor should have been on a yellow card. He then should have received his marching orders with a second yellow later in the game, when he pulled off an outrageous dive in the middle of the park. He tumbled over thin air in the vicinity of Jon Flanagan and the decision not to book him for that misdeed was arguably even more puzzling.
It was a poor moment from the 26-year-old and something fans of Scottish football do not want to see.
Of course, Rangers were also the beneficiaries of some poor refereeing. They did go down to 10-men when Jordan Jones saw red late on. And whilst McGregor was lucky to stay on the pitch, Ryan Jack was even more fortunate. The Rangers midfielder’s challenge on Boli Bolingoli was wild and could easily have seen a red card brandished. Scott Arfield also walked a fine line throughout the match.
But McGregor was fortunate to come away from this game without a suspension just for his play-acting. Even Celtic fans will surely hope the supremely talented midfielder cuts that from his game.
Overall, Celtic were by far the better team and thoroughly deserved all three points. But both sides can feel fortunate about some questionable refereeing.