Is it time for the Sin Bin?

A guest blog by former Celtic & Scotland defender, Jim Craig


What time is this to come back?”

Dolores McCann (her Mother had been a great fan of foreign films) stood in that classic pose of the wounded woman – up to her full height and chin forward – as she glared at her husband who had just come in the front door. Before he could say a word, she gave him another volley;

 “you left the house at half-past-two for a three o’clock kick-off, it only takes you 20 minutes to get to the ground, a match lasts only one-and-a-half hours plus ten minutes for the break and you’ve just walked back in the door at half-past-seven! So where the hell were you?”.

Wayne McCann (his father liked Westerns) tried to calm her down.

“Dolores, you don’t know what it’s like at football matches nowadays ; it has changed out of all recognition; a match goes on for much longer”.

“In what way?” Dolores asked.

“Well, for a start, the players and even the managers can complain about any decision that is given against them. If that happens, the referee then goes and has a word with firstly, the two assistant referees, then the fourth official and gets their comments before he reflects on the situation. If he is still in any doubt that he made the wrong decision then he can ask the guy upstairs sitting in front of a television screen what he thinks. And, of course, all through this, the managers and players of both teams can chip in with their comments. That all adds a fair bit of time to the match”.

“Aye…but turning up at half-past-seven is still a bit over the top…is it no’?”

“Well, no’ really……you see, nowadays you are not allowed to have a drawn game, so if the match is level at the full-time whistle, there is extra time, which takes a minimum of half-an-hour”.

“The time is still no’ matching up!”

“Aye, mibbe so, if that was the end of the match. But if the match is still level at the end of extra-time, then it goes to a penalty shoot-out. I told you…you are not allowed a drawn game”.

“ A penalty shoot-out disnae take long”.

“That might have been the case at one time but because so many keepers were being accused of moving before the ball was kicked, nowadays they are strapped in to a harness which anchors them in the middle of the goal. They can only move when the foot of the guy who is taking the penalty actually touches the ball. So, after each kick, the keeper has to be put back into the harness and it all starts again. And, of course, you get the complaints from the managers and players that the harness wasnae working properly or that the officials who put the harness on didnae put it on right. That all adds up to the time factor”.

“Did you go to the pub?”

“As God is my judge, Dolores, after the match finished, I came straight here”.

“Who won anyway?”

“That’s a difficult question… there was so much noise and kerfuffle both on the pitch and in the stands, nobody was quite sure what the final score was. And the guy who usually does the announcing had gone home. Somebody said that he had a date. Anyway, if you let me turn on the radio, I’ll hear the score there. And Dolores?”


Wayne walked over to the drinks cabinet and took out a couple of glasses. “I don’t suppose you would fancy a wee drink”

We will leave the smooth-talking Wayne to his attempts to mollify Dolores and reflect on the situation. What you have just read is probably the ultimate scenario for those who wish to tamper with the current rules of football. Do I think that the game needs radical changes like that? No but I do think that some change is necessary and in one specific circumstance.

Now, I was a professional footballer for 9 years and in all that time, I can put my hand on my heart and state with complete conviction that I never pulled any other player’s jersey. Did I try to half him in two with a tackle, yes! But no jersey-pulling. And, of course, I was penalised for the challenge.

Today, though, I feel that there is a lot of body-checking and jersey-pulling going on in every match. Very often the referee lets it go and then you get the ridiculous scenario at a corner kick when all those waiting for the ball to come in are pulling and pushing, with the referee watching it and ignoring it. It is a foul, ref!

When the referee decides that an offence has been committed, then the player will be spoken to first. If he does it again, he will be given a yellow-card. The problem is, though, that the offence might possibly have affected the play in the match, whereas the yellow card does not affect the player’s participation.

If the player is daft enough to do it again, then of course he gets another yellow and will be off. Most, however, are sensible and keep the head, so they go unpunished as far as the current match is concerned. What we have to find is a punishment that affects the match in which the transgression occurred. Which means that we have to consider the sin bin.

This works very well in rugby and gives the referee a means to punish an offence a little more harshly – yet more efficiently – than a yellow card but without having to go for the ultimate, drastic – and for many unpalatable  – option of the red card. I hope it comes in soon.

2,363 thoughts on “Is it time for the Sin Bin?

  1. John Reid’s Statement at Celtic AGM 2008
    Why did you decide to speak out about ‘The Famine Song’ and is it important that the club make sure that our supporters protect the integrity of Celtic’s name?
    I spoke out about it because this is a pretty vile song and I don’t think that any reasonable person who has read the words of this song can see it as anything other than a pretty vicious, racist song. It combines racism and sectarianism and goes beyond a lot of other things that we have seen in the past. That’s one of the reasons why I spoke out and I also come from Irish and Scottish descent myself, so that’s the main reason. But there is a bigger and wider reason as well and that is, the nature of this club. We are proud of the fact that we have Scottish origins and Irish heritage and we are never going to deny that. We will defend that and that is not a cause for shame, it’s a cause for recognition and celebration. Indeed our very name ‘Celtic’ is about the unity of the Scottish and Irish people. It stands against those who would divide, discriminate and oppose those two entities. And because we start from that basis of the unity of peoples then we have always been open and inclusive as a club. That’s why traditionally we have never discriminated. That’s why our board, our shareholders, our footballers and our footballing heroes come from all sorts of different backgrounds, religions, ethnic groups and do so internationally. That’s why I said last year that whatever differences we have when we come into this club we leave them at the door because we believe truly, in a Scotland that is one bit of many cultures and is way beyond now being Scots and Irish. That is our stance, therefore we have to speak out when we see racism or sectarianism being practised and of course, if we are going to do that we have to practise what we preach. We have to be careful, from our own point of view and that’s why I am absolutely delighted that our fans in recent years have had accolades from the world football authorities, from the European football authorities and let me say when I point out that there may be a minority who are transgressing our own rules, that they are our own rules. I don’t know any Celtic fans who have been chanting racist slogans or anything of that nature, so I am not comparing like with like here. But I am saying that we have got to be whiter than white and that we have to explain to and educate everybody at this club, including that tiny minority which at away games sometimes leaves us exposed to those who would attempt to say that we are all the same. We aren’t all the same, but we have to make sure that that is evident to everybody. That’s the nature of Celtic Football Club.

  2. jimboApril 20, 2018 at 11:58

    I think yesterday’s performance by Hibs totally supports your point about how the league can become competitive.
    Taking Ntcham as an example: against The Rangers he was superb  but as yesterday showed, the level of competition last weekend was not what Hibs presented yesterday.
    In the run in, had Celtic not opened up a gap that still makes them clear favourites, the finish would be a real nail biter for first place and will be for the other places. 
    What yesterday told me about Celtic and I hope BR, is  Celtic need to have a more physical presence than Scott Brown. They also need an attitude change in the run in.
    That is what competition does, it drives up standards all round.
    It was a very enjoyable game too and hopefully there will be many more like it in competitive terms (but as a Celtic supporter with a more favourable result)

  3. A bit ironic but if the people who are desperate to ensure 10 in a row does’nt happen they may need to look to the manager who won 1,2 and 3 at the start of the run to put an end to it. Neil Lennon is a better manager than people in this country give him credit for but because of WHO he is the SMSM cannot bear the thought of backing him at any point. The TRFC support may also be compromised if the situation arises where Lenny can stop the 10.
    Another thing. The 9 in a row record does not belong to Rangers FC. Celtic were the first team to reach the milestone. Rangers only equalled an already existing record. The record belongs to Celtic FC.

  4. I read this week that rangers had ditched Puma.
    I know,my heart bleeds

  5. Cluster OneApril 22, 2018 at 10:22 5 0
    Rate This
    I read this week that rangers had ditched Puma.I know,my heart bleeds

    Had to dump Puma as Hummell were offering £7million more than their illustrious counterparts.

    APRIL 21, 2018 at 22:43
    Probably the same bribe/sweeetner that was used when Rangers played the same team away from home on eight separate occasions whilst only playing the same team at home once (Hearts 2008/09)For the record the eight times we had to play away for a third time were –Dundee (2000/01), Dunfermline (2001/02), Dundee United (2003/04), Aberdeen (2004/05),Hibernian (2006/07), Hibernian (2008/09), Dundee United (2009/10) & St Johnstone (2011/12)Don’t remember much fuss made at the time apart from Walter mentioning it once.During the same period Celtic played three home games versus the same team on six occasions and played the same team away from home just the once.

    Thing is though, it is not about how many home games a team plays against another. (I have access to records back to 1994). It is about trying to get them each to have 19 games home and away. Hearts had to give up a home game this year because Kilmarnock had had to suffer that same fate already recently.
    If you want to worry about who has to be away three times to the same team there are multiple instances of it every year. It is a consequence of the split and there is pretty much nothing that can be done about it. Rangers (old or new) have not been hit any harder than any other team in this regards

  7. What are the banners saying? “No fight,incompetent on and off the pitch..?”

  8. JOHN CLARKAPRIL 22, 2018 at 13:23

    And the now classic “We Deserve Better”

    Or was it Butter, perhaps they are selling cut rate sandwiches in the stadium.

    Or Batter, maybe their fish is being done in breadcrumbs.

    Got it, Bitter, we deserve bitter.

  9. Sounds like common sense has broken out between Alex McLeish and Brendan Rodgers on which players will travel with Scotland to the infamous friendlies. 

    Players like Tierney & Forrest who played a huge amount of games will be rested.  Armstrong & Griffiths who have missed a lot of games through injury or being benched will go.

    Seems to be a wee bit of doubt over McGregor who has played 50+ games but is desperate to seal his Scotland career.

  10. SCOTTC
    I think the recent statement from Hearts went some way to explaining the rational behind how the decision is made.

  11. Thanks for sharing Auldheid
    It can be instructive how things written many years ago are seen to be relevant today. 
    I would add you your original piece – it’s about what clubs stand for. But some clubs are known for what they detest, abhor and hate. 
    Oh that we could go back 10 years and know then what we know now. 

  12. Jimbo,

    Spot on about how a title challenge will come about. It will be from a general levelling up of standards by several teams who chip away at Celtics superiority.

    The best book on sport I have ever read is Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Whilst it’s subject is baseball the number of lessons that fans of all sports can take from it are immense.

    For me something that is overlooked by so many fans and pundits is the normal distribution of numbers. Say a quality striker takes 30% of their chances over a career then some seasons they will likely score 45% and others 15% of the chances offered.  this will interact with personal psychology and confidence either feeding success or reinforcing failure.

    Similar is reversion to the norm – arguably several members of Celtic’s squad had what may prove to be the best season of the careers in 2016/17. In combination they created the invincible run across three competitions. It’s simple logic that this can’t be repeated every season.

    The brilliant and outstanding do drag up the standard of the rest. In any sport/league where a team defines new standards most opposition players and coaches will generally have sufficient professional pride to improve themselves and rise to the challenge.

    A problem for the chasing pack is that Celtic have their own raising of the game to do in Europe. What could keep Celtic dominant domestically is their desire to improve and succeed at a higher level in the Champions League.

    At some point Celtic will be toppled domestically the challenge to the rest is to be able to take the opportunity when it arises.

    APRIL 22, 2018 at 15:06
    SCOTTCI think the recent statement from Hearts went some way to explaining the rational behind how the decision is made.

    Exactly, my point Jim, but your original post inferred that Rangers were somehow being singled out by being made to play the same team three times away more often than anyone else. Technically, you are correct; they had to play the same team away from home  three times on 8 occassions since the split was introduced. However, that is only once more than three other teams and no fewer than five teams have had to play two teams away from home three times in the same season. St Johnstone have had to do that twice! The split introduced so many diffculties that you have to wonder who thought it was a good idea. I’ve not added the data for this year yet.

  14. I dont think their protest today made the slightest difference to whats coming down the pipeline.

  15. SCOTTC
    Personally speaking i find the split has been a decent idea, with teams playing their closest competitors at a crucial part of the season thus providing a additional level of interest and hopefully larger attendances. 
    I wasn’t implying any bias against my team, just putting out some stats that may surprise some on the site.   

  16. HOMUNCULUSAPRIL 22, 2018 at 13:32

    And the now classic “We Deserve Better”


    I really don’t understand that thinking.  We all support our clubs and we all want them to do as best as they can but I’m not sure we actually ‘deserve’ anything. We may get angry at the players and directors from time to time (as Rangers fans are right now), but what constitutes ‘deserving’ something? 

  17. I suppose ‘We deserve better’ is a bit strong.  Not as bad as ‘Where we belong’ but in the same mould.  They could be talking in terms of a return for their money, in which case they might have a point.  As far as their board is concerned, do they deserve better?  

    Expectations might be better terminology.   Even although their expectations are too high it’s better than deserving.

    Every club has expectations – at various levels.

    APRIL 22, 2018 at 18:02

    SCOTTCPersonally speaking i find the split has been a decent idea, with teams playing their closest competitors at a crucial part of the season thus providing a additional level of interest and hopefully larger attendances. I wasn’t implying any bias against my team, just putting out some stats that may surprise some on the site.

    It’s certainly true that there is an additional level of interest with them playing their close rivals at the end of the season. It does make certain games much more interesting but there are always going to be winners and losers with the home/away mix and the 18/19/20 Home/Away games. I have got kind of used to it though and since it will never affect my team, don’t really mind whether it stays or not. 09

  19. jimboApril 22, 2018 at 19:29I suppose ‘We deserve better’ is a bit strong.  Not as bad as ‘Where we belong’ but in the same mould. 

    I read this as in their case as wishful thinking  that they think “We deserve better” but instaed their endeavours put them  “Were we belong” liquidated and dead
    Roll on mid-day next Sunday .

  20. The ‘We deserve better’ banners have been doing the rounds since 2012

  21. Since it’s quite, a small question if i may.
    At the ibrox POTY award, what happens if kenny win’s it?

    Kenny has done nothing this season to be in with a chance tbh.

  23. Just for fun, on a quiet night, I went back to look at an article I read last year, and was kind of annoyed at. 
    After reading it again, I composed a letter to its author, more as a  wee mental exercise than anything else. 
    But I might just print it out and send it snail mail tomorrow. Bloody annoys me when people fudge!
    Here is what I have written:
    Ms Selina SagayamGibson,Dunn and Crutcher LLPTelephone House,2-4 Temple Avenue,London, EC4 0HB
    Dear Ms Sagayam,
    On July 22 2017, you posted on the “Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation” a contribution entitled “Learnings from some recent Contested Cases before the UK Takeover panel”.
    May I refer you to the section therein headed “Rangers International Football Club plc:Concert Parties, Breach of Rule 9 Mandatory Bid regulations & Compliance Orders”, and within that section to the part headed “ Background Facts”?
    In this summary of the facts, there is a strange hiatus between “the club(Old Rangers) ran into financial difficulty,it entered into administration and in July 2012 in (sic) entered into liquidation” and “ in December 2012 a new company, Rangers International Football Club plc (Rangers) was incorporated in Scotland…….”
    I would like to fill in the gap in your record.
    Rangers Football Club, incorporated in 1899 went, as you say, into Administration . It is most important to emphasise that it was not bought out of Administration, via any kind of CVA or other arrangement to pay its creditors.
    No, as you also correctly say, it went into Liquidation , where, even as I write,it presently languishes under the name of ‘Rangers 2012’ ( its name having been hastily changed just before it was Liquidated )
    The most significant consequence of being liquidated is, for a Scottish professional football club ,loss of membership of a League, which entails loss of membership of the Scottish Football Association.
    That is, the football club ceases to exist as a recognised professional football club entitled to participate in Scottish Professional Football. In other words, it dies the death of Liquidation, as many clubs have done, even in recent times.
    Some of its assets ( excluding, notably, some football players under contract who could legally walk away from their contracts) had been sold by the Administrators to new company , SevcoScotland, in 2012.
    Contrary to the view expressed by many so-called journalists in Scotland, this new company was not a ‘new owner’ of ‘Rangers 1899’.That club was, still is, in Liquidation and was not available for purchase!
    But the new company aspired to found a new football club.
    Now, to obtain membership of the Scottish Football Association a new, would-be professional club, has first to be in membership of a Scottish Professional Football League.
    SevcoScotland , renamed as “The Rangers Football Club Ltd”,duly applied for membership of the then Scottish Premier League(SPL), but was refused membership.
    It then applied for membership of Division 1 of the then Scottish Football League(SFL) , and was denied such membership.
    It was not admitted to membership of Division 2 ,either.
    Finally, in a process described at the time by one most honourable ,now sadly deceased, club Chairman as ‘corrupt’, it was finally admitted into Division 3 of the SFL.
    Back in 2011, a company known as ‘Rangers Football plc’ had been set up ,on 16 November ,company number 437060.
    The shareholders of ‘The Rangers Football Club Ltd ‘ did a deal with the shareholders of “Rangers Football plc”, under which “Rangers Football plc” became the holding company of ‘The Rangers Football Club Ltd’
    “Rangers Football plc” changed its name to ‘Rangers International Football Club’ on 27 November 2012.
    And under that name launched an IPO, in the prospectus of which they claimed to be the Rangers of 1899 vintage!
    A claim which is arrant nonsense, of course, because Rangers of 1899 is in Liquidation.
    So there you have it: a more complete record of facts, so that no one is deceived into believing that the chairman of RIFC plc who , in a precedent-setting move by the Takeover Panel,was taken to the Court of Session and ordered by that Court to comply with the Takeover Panel Appeal Board’s order to make a mandatory offer under Rule 9, is chairman of anything other than the holding company of the 6-year-old ‘The Rangers Football Club Ltd’, and not at all Chairman of a holding company of Rangers of 1899.
    Not that these additional facts have any immediate bearing on the purpose of your article about Rule 9.
    But I just wanted to let you know.
    ( And you will know by now, of course, that the principal member of the RIFC plc ‘concert party’ has indicated that he will obey the Court of Session’s order to make an offer, and has until Thursday of this week to do so)
    Yours sincerely,
    ( and I’ve just noticed her name-SAGAyam!)

  24. Again, bugger. 5 mins isn’t enough to put posts into decent paragraphs for easy reading! See wordpress! see feckin annoyance!19

  25. Level42 will need to instruct the SMSM to copy/paste some World Class Whoppers this week.

    Trying to talk up the current TRFC team is a lost cause.
    So, IMO, attempting to destabilise CFC is all they have left.

    I’m going for;
    Brendan Rodgers “is understood” to be signing for Arsenal – immediately after wrapping up the League title.  [I know.]

    And “it is also understood” that his first signings for the Gooners ‘could’ be; Dembele, Tierney, Roberts.


  26. John Clark
    Why don’t you write it out on notepad first and then copy/paste? 19

  27. If I may reply to FinnMcCool on behalf of those who have fallen foul of the 5-min edit – writing it in notepad doesn’t work 100% as the paragraph spacing doesn’t translate as it looks – you can put double returns in and that should work but it doesn’t always and the changing of para breaks can change the emphasis of what’s written.

    As regards the “We Deserve Better” campaign – jeezlouise, where to start? Firstly no, you don’t – to quote that existential philosopher Leigh Griffiths “yer club’s deid mate”, and it does on your watch.

    The writing was on the wall to see and the warnings were shouted out loud (regardless of source) but you did too little too late.

    Prospective buyers from overseas were ridden out of town on a rail. Even when you got an actual UK billionaire you chased him out of town, until you got enough RRM to blow “Surrendering No” smoke up your collectives to meet a quorum (Latin for concert party?) 

    Their talk of being “back where you belonged” resonated with your misguided sense of entitlement and you happily bought season tickets pumping more of your money into Frankenstein-like “clumpany*” cobbled together from body parts from the previous club and some brand new bits, all the time that Green was filling his boots and King was sitting in Joburg paying for a team with other people’s money. The model wasn’t fixed, he’ll it wasn’t even tweaked – we WILL spend more than we can afford and we WILL get into Europe and we WILL get the case we need to bail us out because “we are Rangers (sic) and that’s our right!” This despite the fact it didn’t even work before…

    I do feel sorry for the silent majority of Rangers fans who aren’t swayed by “tangerine” tops and songs about Irish blood, but you only have two choices – live within your means or go bust again. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but you will go bust again and mark my words, the powers that be will not be able to obfuscate your way back again…

    In summary – you are getting entirely what you deserve and will cnever nynue to do so unless you change your model and your mindset.

  28. Case in point re. edits – went underground on the tube seconds before hitting the edit/send….”In summary – you are getting entirely what you deserve and will continue to do so unless you change your model and your mindset.”also *copyright The Clumpany

  29. finnmccoolApril 23, 2018 at 03:15
    ‘..John ClarkWhy don’t you write it out on notepad first and then copy/paste? ‘
    That’s what I did. All beautifully laid out, nicely spaced. But when I lift it and post it, the spacing all goes to hell. When I then go in to sort it in ‘edit’  it’s difficult to move fast enough to finish in time to beat the 5 minute you get. And if you don’t, none of the editing you’ve so far done is saved! 
    Same happens when you lift the text of an email and post it.
    Unless (which is entirely possible) I’m just a hopeless user of the technology. I much prefer the old tech of dip-in pen and ink!

  30. woodsteinApril 23, 2018 at 12:58
    ‘..A free alternative to Microsoft Word is Apache Openoffice,..’
    It is Openoffice I use, Woodstein.
    The difficulty lies in the fact that if one has used italics, or bold, or inverted commas or other punctuation marks, it’s quite difficult to find the beginning and end of each sentence because the  technical bumph about each process appears. So, for instance, if I had used bold for ‘so for instance’ what appears on the edit screen are a number of words in front of those words and behind those words explain that the words are going to be within inverted commas! 
    And so with every word or para that is being edited.It takes me a few minutes to find where my careful paragraphs begin and end, so that I can get the proper spacing restored.
    I’ll post this post now, and see how it appears to you. 
    There are five paras, with 4 words in bold The first is a one liner, ending with Woodstein, the second with commas (in bold), the third, with ‘restored’, the fourth with ‘to you’ and the fifth with this word ‘this’.

  31. my immediately preceding post. It has come up without spacing between the paras.So I’m going in to edit it.

  32. and an example of what I see  is :  because the&nbsp; technical bumph about each process appears. So, for instance, if I had used <strong>bold</strong> for ‘so for instance’ .
    Over a long post, it takes me more than 5 minutes to see where I need to create spaces, even though my original post was spaced!

  33. JockybhoyApril 23, 2018 at 13:25
    ‘..Clock’s ticking John…’
    Thanks for not telling me the obvious solution to my editing problem: to stop writing longish posts!19

  34. John Clark, i logged into my account and came down to this comment box. i then disabled my braodband, and typed this reply.
    I am now going to reconnect my broadland and post.
    I am now connected and still showing looged in now i will post and see what happens.

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