In Scotland the Glasgow derby match took place on Sunday between Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers. It is called ‘the Old Firm Derby.’

Their rivalry goes back over a hundred years and is still as intense and tribal today as it ever was.

Basically it a religious divide between Catholic and Protestant although today many protestant players play for Celtic and many catholic players play for Rangers.

Before Sunday’s match both teams had won all their eight previous Scottish Premier League matches so there was a lot at stake on the result. The winning team would go to the top of the league.

Add to the mix that the Scottish FA appointed 31 year old FIFA Referee, Willie Collum for the match. Willie is a young referee who is close to the UEFA Premier Referee Group and this was his first Old Firm Derby. He is a very competent referee and is the youngest ever to be appointed to a Rangers v Celtic match.

Add to the mix that that during the week before the match the Celtic Coach, Neil Lennon, had made public statements criticising the officials in Celtic’s last match against Dundee United.

Add to the mix that in the build up to the match Lennon made public statements about how he wanted the referee to be strong and to make sure his team was treated fairly.

No pressure on the referee then!

As it turned out Celtic lost 3-1and the third goal was a controversial penalty. Lennon also thought a Rangers player should have been sent off.

The better team won but after the match, Lennon succeeded in turning the public attention from his team’s defeat onto the decisions of the referee.

He demanded to know from the Scottish FA why these two decisions had been taken and received massive media coverage in Scotland.

What of referee Willie Collum?

After Lennon had made his statements, which many considered to be irresponsible and inflammatory, the referee and his family received telephone death threats from Celtic supporters.

A tribal contest of sport was taken over by a few Neanderthal supporters, justifying their actions by comments from a coach who should have known better.

How tragic that our game has come to this.

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