Ex Celtic and Liverpool legend dismisses Brendan Rodgers SFA 'special treatment' conspiracy theory

The Hoops manager served his one match ban against Livingston on Sunday
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen in the stand Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen in the stand
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen in the stand

Celtic and Liverpool icon Kenny Dalglish has moved to shut down any conspiracy theory over Brendan Rodgers being hit with a one-match ban rather than two for criticising officials.

The Hoops boss slammed referee Don Robertson and VAR John Beaton by branding the pair 'incompetent' after he was left furious with the standard of officiating in light of the 2-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle when Yang Hyun-Jun was sent off and Tomoki Iwata gifted away a controversial penalty.

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Rodgers found himself hauled up in front of a Scottish FA disciplinary panel on Thursday and had to watch on from the stands during Sunday's 3-0 Premiership win over Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena - with an additional suspended game issued to the Northern Irishman that carries over to next season.

But Dalglish insists Rodgers - who is permitted to return to the dugout when his side head across the city to face Rangers at Ibrox next weekend - had no case to answer at all and questioned the mindset of whistler Robertson after the governing body failed to give him a "vote of confidence" with Rodgers punishment. 


Writing in his Sunday Post column, Dalglish said: "Some people are up in arms because Brendan Rodgers was only given a one-game touchline ban on Thursday. Brendan was far from happy that day of referee Don Robertson, and the VAR, John Beaton.

"He used the word 'incompetence' when describing their performances in his post-match interviews. you are not allowed to say such things and he left himself wide open to be charged by the Hampden hierarchy. Normally, it is a straightforward two-game ban. It's usually a done deal. But Brendan only got one game and one game suspended. Some people think he has been given special treatment for not getting a two-game ban. My view is that he shouldn’t have been anywhere near Hampden in the first place for a disciplinary hearing.

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"He was critical of the match officials and chose to highlight that after the game. He spoke in a calm and measured manner. I don’t think he was over the top. He had every right to be angry as some of the decisions were wrong, particularly the penalty award against them. Yet, he was punished. Were the match officials sanctioned in any shape or form? As a manager, you must have the right to defend your football club. That is very important. A manager has a responsibility to represent and defend all.

"Supporters also want to hear a manager stand up for their club. They will ask serious questions of you if you don’t. And would be right to do so. But it would seem the SFA doesn’t want to hear any words of criticism. Is the day coming when they will try to ban managers from offering an opinion? The bottom line is that our officials need to be held accountable when they mess up. That is only right for the good of our game.

"They are far too inconsistent and the decision-making should be much better, especially now they have the use of VAR. But it seems as though one handball will be punished for one week, the next week another referee will simply wave play on. It’s no wonder managers, players and supporters are furious most Saturday nights.

"That said, I do have sympathy for referees and there does appear to be a lack of clarity for certain situations on the field. It will be interesting to see how Don Robertson handles today’s game at Livingston. All eyes will be on his performance. I’ve no doubt he will be professional but, privately, how will he and John Beaton be feeling about the decision to given Brendan a one-game ban? It’s hardly a vote of confidence in them from the SFA panel."

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