You’ve probably seen it by this point and no doubt seen the social media aftermath since but Ryan Bowman’s challenge on Kieran Tierney should serve as a reminder to Scottish referees that their willingness to allow such tackles will lead to careers being shortened.

There was disbelief from the stands on Saturday when Kieran was left in a heap on the floor after Bowman made an unnecessary and reckless challenge on the Celtic left back. It went from disbelief to astonishment when referee Don Robertson only brandished a yellow card for the lunge.

Celtic have been subject to some very questionable and hard hitting challenges throughout the season. As the team continues to frustrate their opposition there’s a notable increase in such challenges coming in with many referees offering little in the way of protection which culminated in Saturday’s challenge.

I’m sure there will be someone sitting reading this rhyming off the old cliche that this is a ‘contact sport’ or a ‘mans’ game – indeed it is! However, when the challenges cross the line from a fair crack at trying win the ball to trying to stop your opponent at all costs, something needs to be done.

Kieran Tierney spoke about the challenge that left him bleeding and bruised and admitted he feared the worst.

“Straight away I thought something bad had happened. He caught me on the kneecap. It was a horrible challenge.” said the Celtic left back.

“It was sore. You kinda know sometimes when you have done something and I thought it was bad.

“He caught me high and my knee is all cut. I feared the worst, but thankfully it was okay. I got lucky.

We implore Scottish referees to take a long hard look at themselves and in the case of Don Robertson’s challenge ask themselves if anything constitutes a red card during a football game if this one didn’t.

This is not just for Celtic players benefit, but for the greater good of the game. These challenges are cropping up time and time again because players think they can get away with it. A hard stance against dangerous lunges will protect players and ensure the best possible product for the fans.

A willingness ignorance to shrug off complaints after such challenges will lead to not only shortened careers but an abrupt end to them in extreme cases.

Wake up Scottish referees!


  1. The standard of referees in this country has been extremely lacking in the last 15-20 years gone are the days when a referee would give a free kick and the appropriate punishment but none of them want to give a red card these days at the risk of upsetting managers. Time for Scottish refs to grow a pair.

  2. James you are too lenient. Anyone who has played the game knows that incident was NOT a mistimed tackle:I was a premeditated assault! The action of the referee was NOT an honest mistake: it was an ABDICATION of duty of care! It’s time the players and clubs told the powers that be that all players,especially young ones,need protection from football thugs or else the courts can be asked to decide!

  3. The referee did his job yesterday. He’s not there to protect Celtic players. The only real surprise is that the thug was even booked for the tackle.
    Has McGhee apologised to Celtic for the tackle? Can Celtic expect a call from the referee to apologise for not protecting our players?

    • Derek, the Ref did NOT do his job yesterday, in fact his performance was just the last in a series by REFS recently where they have decided not to enforce the rules for foul play, time wasting etc.

      Yesterday is worse because it was serious foul play and could have had serious consequences for the player on the receiving end of such a tackle.

      Why are the Match Observers allowing these issues to go unreported?

  4. Time refs were getting sacked for getting so much wrong same excuses every game are wee waiting to someone gets killed before something gets sorted remember John thomson for the last game he hath played get what I mean hh ktf

  5. It’s the inconsistency which is the puzzle. Scott McDonald got sent off a few weeks ago for a legitimate tackle not long after an opponent got the red card for a brutal tackle in the same game. Are they winding usall up?.

  6. Scottish referees are a joke every week we see the same bad decisions and nothing gets said . Is it going to take a bad break or worse before somthing gets done or is it going to carry on ????


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