Rangers are being accused of being awarded unfair penalties, but is this really true? Let’s look at some of the facts…
If there’s one thing in life that comes close to rivalling football for pure exhilaration and enjoyment, it’s trolling Celtic fans. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are good for it. We hear week-in, week-out, how Rangers are having meltdowns, often manufactured by said Hoops supporters in the first place, and will choke in the title race yet again. We’ve been getting stick from them for just as long, and perhaps even more intense.
So it is simply cathartic just to sit back, look at the Light Blues still top of the table, take a sip of fine brandy and fire out an article laughing at the latest Green nonsense. That’s what I’m doing now, minus the liqueur sadly.
You see, in the latest round of goalpost moving from our intellectually challenged neighbours, it’s no longer Coronavirus winning us the title, it’s now an SFA conspiracy to give us more penalties than anyone else. You read that right, the Scottish Football Association hacked remotely into Ross Millen’s brain and directed his arm to rise and meet the incoming free kick in the penalty box, quite against his will.
Of course, for Celtic fans, this is more than simple tears over Rangers resolute 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock yesterday, though it seems that way on the face of things. Ultimately, it’s true that there is no other team in the league who have been awarded as many penalties, since Steven Gerrard arrived, as Rangers. It’s a fact.
The key there though is the bit about Stevie G. Teams that play forward, attacking football, will inevitably draw more fouls, and thus more penalties, than those who don’t. Case-in-point, the club with the least amount of penalties in the same time, in all the top leagues in Europe is Burnley, who average one every 2363 minutes. Playing super-defensively, with a healthy supply of time wasting thrown in, has it’s drawbacks it seems.
But for Rangers, this is the reverse. Gerrard has transformed the club from top down, ensuring defensive stability but introducing a system of pressing, passing and attacking prowess punctuated by pacey wingers and fullbacks making runs. We all love to rewatch that Kemar Roofe “goal of forever” from his own half, but almost all of the Gers goals otherwise have been through buildup.
Basically, Rangers are getting more penalties because they are more often in the position to. No other club has spent more time in the opposition box than Rangers this season, nor had as many attempts on goal. This is the curse of being a dominant club amongst less capable opposition who sit back and park the bus, and it’s universal. Penaltypool they call the current champions of the Prem, but back in the day there was Penchester United too.
Ultimately, the accusation that the SFA, or even individual referees, is in any way complicit in giving undeserved penalties is unfounded. Equally, while we like to joke, there’s not much evidence there to suggest that the SFA are actively pushing for Celtic to get any undeserved records this year. Yes, yes, I know they awarded them the title as a free gift last season, but there were other leagues who did the same, to be fair.
The Kilmarnock game was won by James Tavernier’s penalty, it’s true, but the game was decidedly in Rangers’ favour regardless. The Gers had almost 20% more possession with over double the chances, corners and passes than their opponents, it wasn’t a result that was in any way undeserved. On that note, the penalty itself would have been a free kick anywhere else in the park.
There will be, of course, many more situations of moved goalposts from Hoops fans, more attempts to undermine our achievements this year. It’s up to Gerrard to get the lads to put the heads down, eyes only on the prize. For us, however, a little more trolling is never unwelcome.