Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I don't even know where to start

It's the last week of the season in the SPL. Can you feel the excitement? I can, but I know there is one guy who will not. That man is Stuart Dougal who, as of yesterday, has retired as a referee in Scotland. Judging from the reactions from both sides after his last match--Rangers-Aberdeen on Saturday--he waited one game too long to do so.

Dougal had a bit of a 'mare in that match, sending off a player from each side, but missing the call in both cases. Below you can see the replay of the incident that left the Dons a man down in the 18th minute.



Fine, fine acting there by Kyle Lafferty. Did you catch the wink to a teammate at the end? Dougal did end up evening up the sides in the 40th minute when he sent off Gers' Madjid Bougherra for kicking Aberdeen keeper Jamie Langfield in the head. I have found no video of the incident, but I do have this picture:


To be fair, the red card was apparently given on the insistence of the lineman, but no contact was made on Langfield by Bougherra's boot. Oops #2.

Obviously, these decisions rankled both sides. I, as an Aberdeen fan, am not going to say that they changed the outcome of the game. I will only say that the losses hurt both teams and the red card suspensions will hurt them some more.

But wait! The SFA has reviewed the evidence and, backed up by an admission for Dougal that he was wrong on both counts, look likely to drop the bans on Charlie Mulgrew and Bougherra. Further, the SFA are said to be mulling a ban on shameless diver Lafferty, though any ban will not take effect until next season. Rangers have also taken a stand on Lafferty, fining him an undisclosed amount and were also likely that catalysts for his public apology.

Also big on the public apology is referee Dougal. As noted above, he announced that he would retire a week earlier than previously expected. A fairly deflating end for a man who just last year got the plum assignment on the Scottish schedule--the SFA Cup Final. Dougal had also reffed two Intertoto finals and had been selected as a fourth official at both Euro 2004 and the 2002 Super Cup. However, this season had been particularly tough for him because of some injury concerns. Earlier in the month it seemed that he was destined to finish up his career with lower division matches until the SFA decided to give him the referee's equivalent of the testimonial. Of course, I don't think anyone involved in the selection will be sanctioned, only the referee who has admitted he was out of his element.

Finally, since I have your ear (or eyes), a word or two on the final weekend in the SPL. There are essentially three races to look out for on the final weekend. On Saturday, Inverness CT will host Falkirk in a last ditch relegation fight. Anything less than a win, and Falkirk will go down. ICT will likely go down with a loss, but can be saved if St Mirren pull a Norwich on the last day (lose by a bunch with everything on the line) while hosting Hamilton.

The Top Six finish up on Saturday. Rangers and Celtic, of course, are vying for the top spot. Celtic handed the reins back to Rangers with a draw against Hibs last week. Rangers will take the title with a win or a draw and Celtic draw or loss. Celtic host Hearts, who have nothing to play for, while Rangers travel to Dundee United who do. United need a single point to secure European play. Should they fail to produce that point, then the door is open for Aberdeen to sneak into the last European slot with a win. Aberdeen will have to defeat a suddenly in-form Hibernian squad at Pittodrie to even have a hope. The games will kick off at 8.00 AM EDT, so say a little prayer the night before for my beloved Dons, won't you?

14 comments:

Keith said...

if St Mirren pull a Norwich on the last dayThat's just cold, umlaut

The Fan's Attic said...

that was brutal. cold hearted.

ü75 said...

Recent history don't lie.

Bigus Dickus said...

I will be waiting, however long it takes.....In the shadows, holding a knife with Aberdeen's name on it.

ü75 said...

Suddenly I'm getting the swine flu in two months' time.

The Fan's Attic said...

Is there an "Aberdeen Knife Company"? Or do you just give knives names and etch the name onto the blade?

Bigus Dickus said...

http://www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_xnf1v

I get all my blog bayonets there.

Matt said...

STRACHAN OUT!

jjf3 said...

Dammit, BFS, I liked Villanueva. Creative and left-footed, and not on the downside of his career. Yes, he didn't fit this year's needs, as he can be muscled out of the game, but give him a year, and you have MGP's needed replacement. Shit, he might need replacement right now, much less next year. And Derbyshire wants to stay in Greece? Get on the fucking phone, BFS...

Given what I hear at the bar every freaking week, I wondered when a Celtic fan would show up, Matt! :P

Oh, and Go Dons!!

jjf3 said...

and umlaut, that's not to forgive your shot at Norwich. I'm going to spend next season closely following a League 1 team (damn you, BD), and I'll be damned if you can turn any team I follow into a punch-line! (deserved or not)

As for the SPL, anyone not named Celtic or Rangers has my support, so I'll keep rooting for the Dons, but tread lightly on NCFC...

ü75 said...

I like Norwich as much as most on here, but you cannot deny that their last days in 2005 and 2009 were spectacular failures.

jjf3 said...

Spectacular failures? Fuck and yes.

Fodder for cheap shots? Well, fuck and yeah, but I hoped for better anyways...

Little too soon, maybe...I was actually looking forward to buying that damn Canaries shirt... :(

(and that would have been the most pointless purchase of my life)

ü75 said...

Oh, and, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, BITCHES!!!

Did i do that right?

/cohen'd

Bigus Dickus said...

No Norwich shirt is pointless. It stands for soooooo many great things.

www.canarystore.co.uk