The technology of fairness

Following on from the last piece I do firmly believe that advances in technology might well make the match day experience better for the paying customer.

Other codes within these islands are miles ahead of soccer.

I was at Croker last September and there was a disputed call on a score.

Hawkeye was deployed and the matter settled in a few seconds.

That technology, pioneered in Tennis I believe, will be rolled out in other GAA stadia across this country over the next while.

The new Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be equipped with this dispute settling sorcery.

For me it is always the measure of a Celtic manager as to how he reacts when he hits the wall of the Honest Mistake culture.

Tony Mowbray “took it on the chin” and Ronny Deila looked bewildered at the officiating clusterfucks.

Neil Lennon got angry,very angry.

That’s because he wasn’t reared to sit at the back of the bus.

Of course, the world knows the lovely way in which The People reacted to the man from Lurgan.

Earlier in the season I was told of a quietly irate Brendan Rodgers seeking out the thoughts of a referee post-match.

I believe that his dad used to work for the SFA, but doesn’t anymore.

Ok, I think that might be my fault…

Anyway, I’m told that the young whistler was taken back with the technology that the Irishman was armed with in the referee’s room.

Celtic’s geek brigade have a secret weapon called Dartfish.

I’m told that it is used to analyse matches to improve coaching and, ultimately, player performance.

This software can analyse an incident from various angles and provide various data points on who did what where and when.

One of the selling points of this package is that the data is there in REAL TIME.

Consequently, the Antrim man was able to show the Scottish referee several incidents from various angles immediately after the match.

I’m told that in each of the contentious issues raised by Rodgers the official confessed his incompetence.

The last time I was in Hampden was at the Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

I was at the far end of the ground sitting beside my buddy John Fallon.

As Leigh Griffiths headed for goal even the old goalie and I could see it was a handball on the line.

A penalty and red card was the only decision that could have been logically arrived at.

However, the referee Steven Mclean was…ahem…unsighted.

I note with interest that he is the brother of Brian McLean who declared to play for Northern Ireland despite the defender being born in Scotland.

Sadly, due to an administrative error he was not able to turn out for Norn iron

Ah well…

We can only speculate as to the ambience within the Mclean household and their attitude towards a club formed by Irish Catholic immigrants.

Perhaps it was all multi-cultural and tolerant.

I’m sure it was.

Of course, if referee Mclean was required by dint of his SFA employment to state his club allegiance then any such speculation would be largely redundant.

For the avoidance of doubt, there was no such journalistic scrutiny of referee Mclean after that Scottish Cup semi-final.

Once more it was the incompetence narrative.

Not partisan just pish.

Once more, failure to see Josh Meekings save that header on the line in a Scottish Cup semi-final should have been a career-ending error.

It wasn’t.

I wasn’t in the press box at Hampden for that officiating omnishambles in 2015, but I didn’t need to be.

I know what would have been regurgitated.

The clichés are well rehearsed by the stenographers for these inexplicably regular errors involving Celtic:

“The referee had a shocker” and “yeah, he’ll be disappointed with himself”.

I’m glad to note that Scottish football fans respected Brian McLean’s stated wish to play for Northern Ireland.

During the same period Celtic’s Aiden McGeady was regularly subjected to abuse from, ahem, patriotic types in stadia across Scotland.

His cultural crime in Fair Caledonia was to declare from the Republic of Ireland.

Of course, the racist abuse that the Irishman in the Hoops suffered would not be solved by technology.

That takes moral courage and political will and no piece of software can provide that.

However, contentious decisions can be dealt with in seconds.

I was in the press box for the League Cup final between Celtic and Kilmarnock in 2012.

I had a video screen on my work station.

It had a seven second delay.

Consequently, I could look down from the action and see what had already taken place.

This was a great help in writing up what had just happened.

If the fourth official had such a screen and was able to communicate with the referee then the game would not be held up.

In my opinion, the delay argument is used as well, a delaying tactic to bring in these improvements.

Technology is no panacea, but such equipment would prevent the most glaring of these entirely Honest Mistakes.

It would reduce the margin of error significantly and bring that appalling vista into view for The People.

A level playing field.


Discover Phil’s dramatic play Rebellion