The man is in no position to judge
Celtic don’t like George Peat and it is fair to say that George Peat has no time for Celtic. It is no secret that Peat is looking at retirement this summer from his post at the SFA but he seems hell-bent on settling a few scores before he goes. The problem comes in the fact that Peat doesn’t seem too careful in achieving his aims.
The reports of his behaviour during the Neil Lennon appeal are sadly no surprise of a man who is out of his depth in a body that needs shaken apart and rebuilt with a modern image. Peat will find when he retires to a bowling club committee in the Autumn that petty behaviour and rolling out decisions because you want to are able to work in certain conditions but with so much at stake, it cannot happen in Scottish football.
When it was announced that Neil Lennon was handed a six match ban, this site said it was a ridiculous ban and one that was unprecedented for a boss up on his first charge. Yes, Neil Lennon was red-carded at Tynecastle and that carries a two match ban, so there is no complaint with that element of the ban.
If the referee and fourth official could prove that Lennon was aggressive and over the line in his behaviour when complaining about a decision that Craig Thomson got wrong (as all evidence showed), then yes, an additional two match ban for Lennon would have been justified. The validity of the decision does not give a manager the right to cross the line when it comes to complaining so if Lennon was out of line, a four game punishment would have been harsh but it would have been a fair outcome.
However, the act of throwing a further two matches on top of the ban was a ludicrous decision and one which may cause the SFA a lot of harm. And at the centre of it all is that man called Peat.
It should actually be concerning that the appeal hearing went ahead with George Peat absent for some of it. The fact that this situation arose so Peat could appear with Biffy Clyro at the Scottish Cup draw was an act of such stupidity that you can scarcely believe it is true. Then you remember that it is the SFA that is being talked about and you sadly realise it was all too real.
You would like to think that at some point Peat looked at his Outlook calendar / diary / notes on the fridge and thought “I have two appointments scheduled for the same time” and made a decision to move the timing of one or delegate duties to another. The fact that he didn’t may just have given Celtic all the assistance they need in their battle against him and the body he represents.
Celtic probably cannot believe their luck in dealing with the SFA. The idea of sitting back and letting your opponent damage themselves has to be tactic for Celtic and it should be a successful one because it seems as though the SFA are unable to follow proper procedures. Whether this is because there are no recorded proper procedures or there is just too much of a rush to condemn the club is unknown but again, if there was transparency about disciplinary matters at the SFA, this would not be an issue.
As the issue involves Neil Lennon, many people will be unable to look at the case objectively but there is a need to view this with respect to the bigger picture. Yet again the governing body in Scottish football has shown itself incapable of doing its job. Take Neil Lennon out of the equation and every Scottish football fan would be calling for the head of Peat and big changes to the way the SFA conducts itself and its disciplinary hearings.
The thing is though, when you look back at comments from some of the other managers in the SPL, it does make you wonder why Lennon is being dealt with in this manner yet others avoid censure.
A lot of the trouble for the SFA started with the lies orchestrated by Dougie Dougie McDonald at Tannadice for the Dundee United versus Celtic match in October but in the post-match interviews, only one manager laid into the official and questioned people’s integrity. Step forward Scotland assistant manager and United boss Peter Houston.
And who could forget the numerous remarks Terry Butcher has made about officials in Scotland this season?
Well, all of the SFA it would appear. Funnily enough, Butcher has made remarks after all 3 of the Caley games versus Rangers this season with every game seeing a big and highly questionable decision go the way of the champions. Butcher slaughtered the official at Ibrox recently but his outburst, which was surely a criticism of a match official, was whitewashed by the media as they focussed on anti-SPL portion of the rant and ignored by the SFA.
If Celtic and their lawyer Paul McBride know their stuff and let’s face it, McBride has a grasp on his job, these elements should not go unnoticed when it comes time to present a defence of Lennon and the SFA’s overall approach.
However, further backup for Celtic may come in the way that the SFA have handled the bans and suspensions of Derek Adams, now assistant manager at Hibs. It appears that some of the subsequent additional bans handed out to Adams, based upon match officials reports, can no longer be relied upon and that these bans should not have been placed on Adams.
With a large proportion of the Scottish game backing Adams on his stance that he does not swear, the citation of foul and abusive language starts to look rather shaky. Citing this as a reason to increase bans may be a get-out clause to provide further punishment as opposed to being an offence that was genuinely committed. It also depends on how loosely people interpret “foul and abusive” language.
With more and more reasons to question the integrity of those running the game and the games themselves, there has never been a bigger need for the old guard to be thrown out of town.
If Neil Lennon wins his appeal, it will be considered a victory for Celtic….but if the club takes it all the way, Scottish football may just be the winner with a complete review of the current running of the game.