Writer: South-East Arab
Date:Tuesday January 6 2009
When is a free-kick not a free-kick... When you are playing against Rangers or Celtic!
At Parkhead this weekend, I watched in disbelief as Celtic score twice after the referee Steve Conroy made awful decisions all over the park.
Conroy, who is rumoured to be a Celtic supporter, allowed Scott Brown to push United captain Lee Wilkie in the 12th minute, before setting up Samaras for the opening goal.
I`ve looked at the TV highlights several times and its obvious that Celtic midfielder Brown jumped at Wilkie, pushing him off the ball, before taking control and squaring it to Samaras.
You would expect someone to pick up on the fact that it should have been a free-kick to Dundee United, but strangely the Scottish media have overlooked this fact... but then, what do you expect when you are playing the Old Firm, because the rules don`t actually apply to them!
Then, Celtic`s 2nd goal... what a complete joke, even the BBC coverage admitted that Scott McDonald was backing into Sean Dillon, before ref Conroy awarded the Celtic striker a free-kick from which Samaras eventually scored.
Although, to be fair McDonald gets away with doing that all the time, even against Rangers... he just sticks his backside into the defender, waits for contact and then goes down like he`s just been shot, all the time with his hand in the air claiming for the free-kick.
When Gordon Smith was appointed as SFA chief, he made a big thing about ridding the Scottish game of diving, yet McDonald has been allowed to get away with this sort of cheating since he first arrived at Parkhead.
There were many other suspicious incidents through-out the 90minutes, like Craig Conway fouled from behind by Scott Brown on the far side, but Celtic awarded a free-kick despite no contact being made with the ball.
There was the 1st half shot by Scott Robertson which was deflected wide by Artur Boruc, only for the assistant to award a goal-kick, when it was clear the keeper had made a crucial save.
However, there was some justice for Dundee United, when they were awarded a throw-in in the 59th minute right infront of the dugout, much to the disgust of Gordon Strachan who grabbed the ball and refused to let Sean Dillon rake a quick throw-in.
Ironically, it was moments after the throw-in that Morgaro Gomis was brought down outside the penalty box and that allowed Paul Dixon to score from the resultant free-kick, so if Strachan hadn`t have been such a smart arse, then perhaps Dundee United wouldn`t even have had the opportunity to get back into the match.
Although, the incident that lead to the freekick should have also resulted in a red card to Celtic captain Stephen McManus, for his 2 footed lunge on Gomis - though the referee also bottled that decision, only awarding him a yellow card.
in the closing stages, Celtic were at it again after Scott Brown went down far too easily and was awarded a foul for a nothing challenge from Gary Kenneth - fortunately for United, Nakamura blasted the free-kick high over the bar.
The final score might have been 2-2, after Warren Fenney`s 77th minute equaliser, but who knows what the result might have been if the 2 sides competed on a level playing field?
For years Dundee United have struggled to beat Celtic, usually losing the match in the last 5 minutes, but when you look at the reasons why, its clear that United are at a disadvantage playing against more than 11-men if you include the referee and his assistants.
For more proof, you only have to remember the stonewall penalty that was never awarded against Celtic during the previous meeting earlier in the season at Tannadice.
One day, Celtic might win fair and square, but until then they`ve always got the officials as back-up!
Date:Tuesday January 6 2009
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