I have completely lost faith in the SFA judicial review panel.
Alfredo Morelos’s kick at Scott McKenna at Pittodrie last week, for me, was nowhere near as bad as his stamp on Anthony Ralston in the Old Firm game. And yet, the Rangers striker gets handed a ban for that, while escaping punishment for an offence that was far worse.
I couldn’t believe it when they didn’t punish him for the Ralston incident. Yes, I know the procedure and that the referee John Beaton said he saw it, but there has to be a change to the way these incidents are flagged up because there is no consistency.
In my opinion, they have only now meted out this punishment to Morelos because he has been sent off a number of times now, and they feel that they have to be seen to be doing something to hammer him.
I just can’t see how these incidents could have been treated so differently, and I really don’t know where they are finding these people who sit on the panel. That’s part of the problem, and it is little wonder that supporters have lost all trust in the process when you have that lack of transparency and so much inconsistency to boot.
It’s really sad and disappointing for the Scottish game, because it is beginning to really take the shine off what has been and continues to be a great season.
I don’t think there is a proper understanding of playing football being applied to these decisions. The answer may well be to get some real football people who have played the game to a high level involved so that they can offer an informed view and ensure you have that balance when it comes to making these calls.
There will always be one club who says there is leniency towards another club, but they aren’t doing anything to ensure these theories can be put to bed.
Even if Morelos got away with the kick at McKenna, I wouldn’t have been surprised, because there is no way of predicting which way the panel are going to go as they don’t seem to follow the precedents that they themselves have been setting.
By having former footballers on the panel, for instance, they would have easily been able to give the informed view that when a player is lying on the floor as Ralston was at Ibrox, and Morelos is approaching him at the speed he was, then you can easily avoid stamping on the back of your opponent. How on earth do they miss that?
Another example of their inconsistency is the fact they have now done Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor for his kick at Lewis Ferguson, because was that any worse than his kick at Kristoffer Ajer earlier in the season?
Now, I believe he should have been cited for this incident, because his challenge was late and really, really naughty. He was high, and it was a potential leg-breaker. But why then was he not summoned for his kick on Ajer, which was off the ball?
I just don’t think the panel are up to the task at all, and you have to get some former professionals on there to give their viewpoint because they know and understand football. They know when a foot has been left in, they know when the studs are high, so why aren’t they being consulted?
Until we go down that route, then the panel has no credibility.