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Post by Scottish » Thu May 01, 2008 8:41 am

Let's clear one thing up. I don't take pleasure in anybody's 'ignorance.' My original comment about Cuellar was that in the context of Spanish football he is comparatively unknown. There were no Spanish clubs interested in his signature when he became available. It is - IMHO - indicative of the poor domestic season in Scotland that a guy who is no more than average in his homeland should so suddenly have ascended to the top of the tree in the SPL.

I don't think the Barcelona media were 'fed' any stories from anywhere. Nor did they need to be. The lack of arrests during Rangers visit was down to the 'softly softly' approach - something the city authorities quickly regretted and which has had the unfortunate effect of tarring all visiting fans with the same brush. The Spanish media in general, while fanatical in their sports coverage, are just as guilty as anywhere else of stereotyping the opposition. The occasional references to Sccottish football invariably mention 'los catolicos' or las protestantes' when mentioning the OF.

Sadly, I don't think they had to be fed that 'information' either.

As for the passion of the supporters, they're as passionate as any. I watched the return game with Man Utd in a bar filled with Barca fans and there was no lack of passion. Nor in the press. The future of the club dominates not just the sporting but the regular press too. Though I would say that it was indicative of the way the game was going that the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the booking of English football's latest hate figure - Cristiano Ronaldo.

Finally, one more observation on stereotypes. The French newspaper L'Equipe said Man Utd's winner was scored by the "Paul Scholes, veteran midfield Scot" which might bring a wry smile to the faces of those of us who recall what Scholes did to Scotland at Hampden in 1999.

But Scholes IS a wee ginger-headed guy with a temper. In the world of stereotyping it's an easy mistake to make.

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Post by Scottish » Thu May 01, 2008 5:36 pm

Oh, and the live match on Spanish TV tonight is Fiorentina - Rangers.

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Post by Scottish » Sun May 04, 2008 10:45 pm

LBB will be delighted to learn that I left Barcelona 48 hours ago and thus missed the 6-0 thrashing of Valencia tonight. I don't expect to see such fare on show at Tynecastle next Saturday!

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Post by the hibLOG » Tue May 06, 2008 1:09 pm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/footbal ... 382973.stm

Well there you go. Fair's fair, eh?
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Post by Scottish » Wed May 07, 2008 6:41 pm

And the Spanish TV coverage of the game in Florence did keep going on about the two Spaniards on the field - in exactly that same irritating way English commentators insist on talking about a player's Premiership club in World Cup/European Championship ties.

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Post by Lisbon67 » Sat May 10, 2008 6:49 pm

Surely the Rangers POTY award has to go to Mike McCurry?

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Mon May 12, 2008 8:17 am

And manager of the year award to Craig Levein.

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Post by lbb » Mon May 12, 2008 9:24 am

LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:And manager of the year award to Craig Levein.
For what? Losing a Cup Final and failing to qualify for Europe? What an achievement - hire the open-topped buses.

If Craig Levein feels so strongly about referees then he should do the decent thing and resign as manager of Dundee United. If you go to a game in a casino and you believe it is crooked, do you carry on playing? Only a moron would do so. If Craig Levein is not a moron then he has no option but to resign from Dundee United and refuse to work in Scottish football again.

I'm not sure even Levein is stupid enough to believe foreign referees never make mistakes. What he means to say is that his own prejudices and bias mean that he cannot trust Scottish referees to make mistakes honestly so, therefore, the system should be turned upside down to accommodate his prejudices and bias. His psychological flaw probably leads him to believe that this is perfectly sensible and, in fact, logical.

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Post by lbb » Mon May 12, 2008 9:33 am

Craig Levein, a man of integrity http://tinyurl.com/4e94ho -

"The SFA were never going to remove a referee from a football match and St Mirren know that.

"I think it's unfair Alan Freeland has been put under undue pressure like this and I would like to stress we have absolutely no problem with him refereeing the game.

"He's experienced enough not to let it affect any decisions he makes.

"Any referee who is doing a match live on television is under a certain amount of pressure and this has only increased that."

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Post by nightfire » Mon May 12, 2008 10:28 am

lbb wrote:
LEATHERSTOCKING wrote:And manager of the year award to Craig Levein.
For what? Losing a Cup Final and failing to qualify for Europe? What an achievement - hire the open-topped buses.

If Craig Levein feels so strongly about referees then he should do the decent thing and resign as manager of Dundee United. If you go to a game in a casino and you believe it is crooked, do you carry on playing? Only a moron would do so. If Craig Levein is not a moron then he has no option but to resign from Dundee United and refuse to work in Scottish football again.

I'm not sure even Levein is stupid enough to believe foreign referees never make mistakes. What he means to say is that his own prejudices and bias mean that he cannot trust Scottish referees to make mistakes honestly so, therefore, the system should be turned upside down to accommodate his prejudices and bias. His psychological flaw probably leads him to believe that this is perfectly sensible and, in fact, logical.
Not sure what you mean by saying Levein is prejudiced although I accept he will be biased in favour of his own team if he can get away with it.

Saturday's decisions obviously inflamed him more than ever before because of the knock on effect to his team for next season and maybe because some of them were very obviously wrong.

Putting aside that all officials will continue to make mistakes, what amazes me reading/hearing the Scottish Media is that referees are not, never have been and never will be dishonest. I don't know that you can ever prove it but to suggest that whilst Presidents, Prime Ministers, Policemen, Civil Servants, Scientists etc etc can be reported as having lied but never Scottish Refs is total bollox.

Maybe the way forward is to do as the English have done and ask whether an official has an allegiance to a certain team and then ensure they don't officiate at one of their games. In saying that I don't know how that is arranged.

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Post by Scottish » Mon May 12, 2008 10:42 am

nightfire wrote:Maybe the way forward is to do as the English have done and ask whether an official has an allegiance to a certain team and then ensure they don't officiate at one of their games. In saying that I don't know how that is arranged.
In principle that's a great idea but the only problem in replicating it in Scotland is that, unless the supporting allegiances of referees are way out of kilter with the rest of the population, around half the officials would be banned from OF games. That would have the knock-on effect of ruling them out of officiating at most 'showpiece' matches and that in turn would prevent them from progressing to take charge of UEFA and FIFA games.

The English system seems to work fairly well. I recall former referee Jeff Winter turning up at the 2004 League Cup Final as a Middlesbrough supporter. Some Kilmarnock fans reckon Dougie MacDonald did the same in Scotland 2007 as a Hibs fan. Only problem was he was officiating at the time.

Identifying refs with clubs doesn't end controversy though. I'll bet a few Chelsea fans are questioning Steve Bennett's allegiances this morning. FWIW I think they're barking up the wrong tree. He might have awarded Man Utd an iffy penalty but he turned down a blatant one. And while he should have booked Paul Scholes a second time - thus meaning a sending-off- he should never have booked him the first time.

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Post by lbb » Mon May 12, 2008 10:49 am

In a few Dundee Utd-Rangers matches this season, Rangers have had decisions go against them.

In the first match at Tannadice, which Rangers lost 2-1 (so much for 'impossible' to beat...), a Daniel Cousin goal was wrongly disallowed.

In the CIS Cup Final at Hampden, Jean-Claude Darcheville was wrongly flagged for offside when through on the keeper.

In the previous league meeting at Tannadice, which finished 3-3, Nacho Novo scored and was then fouled and hauled to the ground by Lee Wilkie. No card was shown to Wilkie.

So that's at least one goal, possibly two, and a red card for United denied. These decisions happen and Craig Levein certainly could not find it in him to flag up refereeing standards after these matches.

We live in a country where some referees, including Mike McCurry, have been subjected to threats in their personal lives. The answer in that case is not to open them up to further abuse and leave them at the mercy of every lunatic in the land in the name of 'transparency.' It's to ensure they have the full protection of the League as without them, there is no League. There is a system in place for assessing referees on a weekly basis. It's that system that will decide the competency of referees, not incandescent managers indulging in vicious personal smear tactics.

Every club falls foul to a refereeing mistake at some point or another. Dundee United do not have the monopoly on it nor do they have the solution.

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Post by nightfire » Mon May 12, 2008 11:16 am

scottish wrote:
In principle that's a great idea but the only problem in replicating it in Scotland is that, unless the supporting allegiances of referees are way out of kilter with the rest of the population, around half the officials would be banned from OF games. That would have the knock-on effect of ruling them out of officiating at most 'showpiece' matches and that in turn would prevent them from progressing to take charge of UEFA and FIFA games.
I don't have a problem with that if it means that the suggestion of favouring a team is removed even if that means that foreigners have to be brought in. However, I do accept it won't stop officials making mistakes.

Back in 1905, the League Championship Decider between Celtic and Rangers was refereed by an official from Preston so maybe the problem has been around longer than we think

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Post by lbb » Mon May 12, 2008 11:26 am

nightfire wrote: I don't have a problem with that if it means that the suggestion of favouring a team is removed even if that means that foreigners have to be brought in. However, I do accept it won't stop officials making mistakes.
So why do it then?

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Post by lbb » Mon May 12, 2008 11:38 am

Referee Michael McCurry has today moved to explain the reasoning behind two of the decisions he took during this weekend’s match between Rangers and Dundee United at Ibrox.

“In the 55th minute of the match Rangers were in possession of the ball and attempted to clear it from their defensive area. As is normal practice, I started to run towards the half way line, anticipating the ball being cleared from defence. The clearance, however, was not successful and the ball struck Noel Hunt of Dundee United, who then played a very quick “one-two” allowing him to chase the ball into the penalty area closely followed by David Weir of Rangers.

“At this point, given the very quick change of the direction of play, I was caught out of position and my line of sight was partially obstructed by another player.

“I saw Noel Hunt fall to the ground with David Weir in close proximity behind him. As my vantage point was extremely poor it was not possible for me to say what or, if any, infringement had occurred.

“Given this significant doubt in my mind it would have been improper for me to simply conclude that an infringement had occurred on the opposite side of the field of play from me. On this basis, I had no option but to allow play to continue amidst the appeal for a penalty kick.

“I have now had the benefit of seeing the incident again on television. I believe that were it not for the fact that I had been caught out of position by the quick transfer of play I would have awarded Dundee United a penalty and would have cautioned the Rangers player David Weir. In my opinion there was another defender in close proximity with the possible opportunity to make a defensive challenge on the attacker.

“In the 71st minute Dundee United were in possession of the ball and Danny Swanson shot towards the Rangers goal from approximately 30-35 yards. The ball appeared to me to be deflected off a Rangers player and entered the goal.

“As I turned to award a goal to Dundee United it was brought to my attention that the stand side Assistant Referee had his flag raised signalling that an offside infringement had occurred. I also noticed that a Dundee United player required medical treatment.

“Having made sure that the player received the required treatment, I then went across to the Assistant Referee and confirmed that he was signalling for an offside infringement. He confirmed this was the case and informed me that a Dundee United player had been in an offside position and that he had played the ball prior to it entering the goal.

“I informed the Assistant Referee that it appeared to me that the ball was deflected off a Rangers player. The Assistant Referee told me that he had not seen it touch a Rangers player but had definitely seen it played by the Dundee United player, David Robertson. Given that David Robertson was behind the Rangers player, my view was such that I could not tell if the ball had been played by Mr Robertson last before entering the goal. Consequently, I decided to accept the advice of my Assistant Referee.

“Again, having had the opportunity to review the incident on television, it is clear to me that the ball is not played by the Dundee United player Robertson who was, however, technically in an offside position and was in close proximity to the ball.

“I can understand the difficulty faced by my assistant referee in this incident and why, David Robertson may have been considered offside.

“Again, with the benefit of seeing the incident again numerous times on television, I consider it would have been more appropriate to conclude that the player, David Robertson, was not involved in active play and would have allowed the goal to stand.”

Scottish FA Chief Executive Gordon Smith said:

"Everyone at the Scottish FA is hugely disappointed in the accusations that have been levelled at one of our match officials following the match at Ibrox on Saturday. To impinge on a man's integrity in this way is extremely unfair and does nothing to encourage more people to take up refereeing.

"Michael McCurry has been a top class referee for a number of years and has handled many a high profile, high pressure game. He has shown his own strength of character by being willing to be up front with his explanation of why he made these crucial decisions during the game.

"To suggest that there was any kind of agenda behind the decisions made on the day does a massive disservice to the game and, quite frankly, is completely unfair.

"Football is a game played by people and people can make mistakes. It is always frustrating when decisions go against you - but this has been a part of football since the game started. We rely on our referees to make decisions in a split second and without the benefit of countless replays. I think that it is extremely sad that an honest, dedicated professional has been treated in this way."

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