Celtic involved in new row as Scottish refs vote for strike
Celtic 1 Dundee United 1
Scottish referees last night voted to go on strike after another controversial afternoon in the SPL.
Citing an increase in criticism coming their way, the referees believe their integrity is being undermined and are set to carry out their threat next weekend and may see Rangers' clash with Dundee United and Celtic's home match against Inverness called off.
It was United who left Parkhead nursing a grievance with referee Mike Tumilty following their draw on Saturday.
The incident that provoked their ire (not to mention cautions for dissent for Garry Kenneth and Danny Swanson) happened 19 minutes from time, when United were pressing for an equaliser.
United striker David Goodwillie, chasing a through ball, was impeded by central defender Daniel Majstorovic as he attempted to cut inside. If Tumilty had awarded a penalty kick he would have had no option but to dismiss the Swede, who was the last man between Goodwillie and Fraser Forster.
But the official decided that the clash was accidental and allowed play to continue, an interpretation which infuriated the visitors.
"From where I was standing, it was a definite penalty," said Kenneth, United's captain. "I got a foul against me in the corner for exactly the same thing... and yet Goodie's in on goal and if he gives that then he's also got to send Majstorovic off. (Against) any other club, it would have been a sending off because Goodie's in on goal.
"I don't know if the referee was under pressure. I can't really say, but he's not given the decision and we feel aggrieved by it. If it had been me on Gary Hooper? I'd definitely have been sent off."
Fired by that perceived injustice (in truth a blatant handball by Georgios Samaras in the 89th minute appeared to be a more clear-cut penalty, although no United player appealed for it), Peter Houston's side continued to surge forward.
Then, in the third minute of stoppage-time, Shaun Maloney's lunge on Barry Douglas gave United a free-kick, Douglas flighted the ball in and Dubliner Sean Dillon was allowed a free header from six yards.
That cancelled out Hooper's superbly taken opener (he swivelled on a Maloney cutback to fire into Dusan Pernis' top left-hand corner), avenged the striker's last-gasp winner at Tannadice five weeks earlier and saw Celtic fall three points behind Rangers. In a city where second is nowhere, manager Neil Lennon's frustration afterwards was understandable.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)