The last few weeks have been eventful for Celtic to say the least as they have
hit the back and front pages of the newspapers more than most for allsorts of reasons.
For anyone who saw the match against Dundee United at Tannadice a couple of weeks ago, you will know that yet again Celtic fell foul of a “strange” decision by Referee Dougie McDonald and his assistant Steven Craven.
With the match level at 1-1,Gary Hooper was sent tumbling in the box and Dougie McDonald pointed to the penalty spot but then he ran over to Steven Craven and after a short conversation…..the decision was overturned, much to the amazement of everyone in green and white and in particular Neil Lennon!
Neil was furious to say the least with the officials as this could have left Celtic behind in the chase for the SPL title but thankfully for the Hoops, Gary Hooper did pop up with the winning goal to keep the Hoops toe to toe with their arch rivals Rangers as they headed for a collision course at Celtic Park the following Sunday.
The actions of Dougie McDonald and Steven Craven are still the talk of the steamy till this present day as not only did Craven quit his position but he spilled his side of the story to a Sunday newspaper admitting that they had lied to Neil Lennon about the decision and what went on that day, no wonder some of the Celtic supporters joke about a Masonic conspiracy amongst the Referees in Scotland (I don’t know anything, its all a big secret!).
As if all that wasn’t bad enough, Neil Lennon had said before the first Old Firm match of the season that he wanted Referee Willie Collum to get the big decisions correct, nothing the matter with that I thought.
The history books will show that Rangers won the first Old Firm match of the season 3-1 and like it or not, in the second half they were the better side.
But the performance of Willie Collum and the defenders who wore the green and white shirts that day was nothing short of shocking.
Both sides were lucky to see out the match with eleven men on the pitch at the end, as some were far too fired up and left their mark on their opponents.
Indeed some of the challenges were so late they made the first edition of the Evening Times on the Monday!
Celtic took the lead just before half time when Gary Hooper knocked the ball home from close range, at that point many inside Celtic Park thought that they should have
Been able to at least hold on to the lead for longer than they did but Rangers came out stronger and got on level terms thanks to a defensive mix up that let in Kyle Lafferty to knock a ball across goal, only for Glenn Loovens to knock it into the net.
After that things went from bad to worse!
Celtic again failed to clear their lines and a miss kick from Forster was nodded on to former Celtic striker Kenny Miller who wasted no time in volleying the ball home to turn this game on its head.
Celtic tried to get back in the match but the stuffing was well and truly knocked out of them when Collum awarded a penalty for a dive by Broadfoot after a Majstorovic challenge, it looked more like the Rangers player was already falling as the Celtic defender moved towards him.
But Miller was not hanging about as he planted the ball into the net via the left hand post and that was that.
I have spoken about Kenny more than once to work mates and fellow supporters but he is the one man that I felt Celtic should not have let go as he has come back to haunt his former employees, time and time again.
Any defeat to Rangers is always hard to take and no matter how bad the performance of the official, there is no need for death threats to him or his family, these guys make mistakes, we all do.
I am sure players on both sides are sick of all the nonsense that goes on afterwards also as their houses are targeted by thugs from both sides.
Indeed I thought I was hearing things when Hugh Keevins was talking on Radio Clyde and he said that he was faced with sickening comments from a fan hoping that he and his family die in a car crash!
Now, Hugh is one of few journalists that I enjoy listening to and reading and I find this kind of thing totally disgusting and unacceptable to say to anyone.
No matter what you think of any journalist (and there are a few I can think of) that kind of comment is simply not on!
(Both Ravi and I have had abuse since we started doing these blogs over a year ago and sometimes you wonder if it is all worth it?
As I have said before,this is a non paying gig we both do for the love of writing and the love of the clubs we are writing about but if anyone fancy's it then give us a shout and we'll hand the gig over to you)
Celtic had been undone again by Rangers and by a strange refereeing decision but no time to stand still and feel sorry for themselves, two trips to Perth were next and they could have been potentially tricky.
The cup match was great entertainment, for the first 25 minutes Celtic played some fantastic football and it was a joy to watch, 3-0 up inside 13 minutes with goals from Stokes (2) and McGinn Celts were on easy street, suddenly it was all change.
A defensive slip by Glenn Loovens as he mistimed a clearance and Saints were back in the game as Parkin gave the home side something to chase in the second half and then a Davidson header had Celts twitching but thanks to a commanding performance by Majstorovic and a wonder save from Fraser Forster to deny Myrie Williams and send Celtic into the semi-finals and a match against Aberdeen next year. (The Hoops opponents on Saturday)
Speaking to some of the players afterwards, I could see that they were keen to put right their mistakes from the weekend game against Rangers and the sooner the better.
Celts and Saints faced each other again on Saturday but this time the match was not as close as the Hoops ran out 3-0 winners with goals from Niall McGinn (2) and the impressive Emilio Izaguirre.
After the weekend’s results the Hoops are now only a point behind Rangers, more points will be dropped in the race for the title along the way, the need for worry and panic is a long way off yet!
Before I go I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the family of a real Celtic man who passed away only recently, Peter Rafferty.
Peter was involved with the Affiliation of Registered Celtic Supporters Clubs and every time the media were looking to chat about all things Celtic, Peter was their man, he will be sadly missed by everyone at Celtic Park and beyond.