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THE GREEN & WHITEWASH; HAND THAT ROCKED THE TREBLE ROW RUMBLES ON The SFA have opened a can of worms over handling of Celts penalty row .. now it's Dougiegate 2.

Byline: SPORTS VIEW THURSDAY Michael Gannon

IT started with a phantom penalty. Now it's a phantom menace.

The SFA instigated Operation Mop Up McLean Mess but they've knocked over the bucket and flooded the kitchen floor.

We've now got FIFA high heid yin Jim Boyce pretty much accusing the SFA of going rogue with this botched clean-up job.

And while everyone wades through the muck there is a sudden realisation we have all been waist deep in this soapy bubble before.

Dougie, Dougie. Remember the phrase? Two words that caused mayhem in Scottish football in 2010 and are echoing around the madhouse again five years later.

We're now in Dougie, Dougie territory with this Josh Meekings shambles.

Back then Dougie McDonald was doomed after he overturned a penalty call for Celtic at Dundee United after a chat with his assistant Steven Craven.

It turns out Dougie had just made a Hugh Jarse of it, tried to get his story straight with Craven after the match and told porkies in his match report.

The lino ended up getting launched under the bus, McDonald dug deeper and deeper before retiring in disgrace.

Fast forward to 2015 and we're right back in Dougiegate yet again because something about this Meekings carry on stinks to the high heavens.

Some will say Celtic should have let it lie. Refs make mistakes, every team in the world gets hit with the odd snider.

But St Johnstone, St Mirren, Rangers and a host of others have written to the SFA to explain decisions as well, as they are all entitled to do.

What's becoming clear is something is not adding up.

The SFA response may be winging its way to Celtic as we speak but they have already given their answer indirectly why the penalty wasn't given.

The fact compliance officer has steamed in and hit Meekings with a ban for "deliberately preventing a goalscoring opportunity" means McLean failed to mention the incident in his match report or to the assessor in the stands.

He has basically said that no one out of himself and his five pals saw a thing. That's why Tony McGlennan could and possibly had to step in.

But by doing so the SFA have just taken a dirty big tin opener to a huge can of worms.

And it all smacks of another Dougie Dougie whitewash.

Call it conspiracy, call it collusion, call it jiggery-pokery if you like, but now the entire incident smacks of a bunch of guys on the ropes sitting down together and getting their story straight.

Celtic's carefully crafted scud missle has blown another hole in the SFA refereeing ranks. A cock-up has become so much worse as McLean tried to dig his way out a cesspit using a cake fork.

Celtic posing the question posed him a problem. If McLean said he saw the offence but neither he or his team didn't think it was a penelty, the next question would be why the heck not? It's Sophie's choice. Either you're incompetent or you're corrupt. Denying he saw it gets him off the hook but only if the compliance officer steps in.

Meekings gets done but the ban gets turned over as the panel decide they can't prove the handball was deliberate without reading Meekings's mind or making him take a polygraph.

Of course he didn't mean it. Boxers don't mean to get out of the way when a haymaker heads their way. It's instinctive but it was still a penalty.

It was a nice plan, and they might have got away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids. Or folk having a shred of commonsense.

It just looks like a Monday morning pow wow over coffee and croissants between the officials, their SFA overlords and the compliance officer. "Right, lads, how do we plot our way through this s*** storm, and here, have a blueberry muffin."

This is exactly the kind of conspiracy that got Dougie in deep doo doo.

We can't have the beaks getting their story straight. We need them to tell the truth. If the truth is they messed it up, then fair enough. It should be a case of sending all diddies off for a stint in the Ayrshire juniors - just as Boyce said.

But if they need to change their tune to make it fit a convenient way out, we have stumbled into very murky territory indeed.

Meanwhile, Meekings is in a sweat. No player has ever been done retrospectively in Scotland for a handball. The rule is there but if it was applied across the board Hampden would be busier than a One Direction gig every Monday morning.

The lad is a scapegoat in an SFA carve-up that has succeeded only in slitting their own throats in front of FIFA.

CAPTION(S):

DECISION BREAKER Deila fumes with McLean and Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce chats with Lawwell
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 23, 2015
Words:818
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