The SFA, SPFL and brutality upon Rangers


On Tuesday the visiting Livingston subjected Rangers to 90 minutes of borderline UFC at Ibrox, while referee Andrew Dallas did little to stop it. This article exposes some of the absolutely shocking ‘challenges’ which went relatively unpunished, challenges which Livi manager Mark Burchill failed to truly condemn.

Rangers fans had an inkling this kind of treatment was going to become a more frequent occurrence, with the old adage ‘if you can’t beat them, kick living lumps out of them’, and those fears came to pass at St Mirren Stadium when inside the first four minutes this happened:

Thankfully referee Steven McLean booked Goodwin for that kung-fu attack, and that managed to temper the aggression a touch, but the underpinnings of brute force challenges remained.

The Scottish FA have failed to take any retrospective action against Livingston for their 90 minutes of mayhem at Ibrox, and while yesterday did not quite scale those heights of violence (from four minutes onwards anyway) it remains nevertheless a distinct problem that Rangers players are going to be subjected to thuggery on the pitch, challenges which borderline cross the bounds of acceptable conduct.

No fan of any team would ever deny it is a man’s game, and strong challenges are part of that. But tackles which can wound, injure, or downright put a player out for months are beyond the pale – it is a sport, not combat; it is not boxing, nor UFC, nor wrestling – Nathan Oduwa was ‘bruised all over’ after Tuesday according to Mark Warburton, and as such Rangers lost him for this encounter, the English winger failing a late fitness test.

The SFA and SFPL are under serious pressure to show they give a damn about the wellbeing of the footballers under their jurisdiction – red cards cannot be feared, and there is no question referees have to be stricter for Rangers matches.

Rangers are a scalp – we know and accept this, and we know smaller teams will try harder and work more physically to try and get something. But Rangers deserve the respect of not being at risk of serious injury just for the crime of being good.


  1. Your article would have done well to show that this isnt just happening to us, while we are getting more physical attacks, other teams are suffering because of the terrible standards of officials, who are to go unquestioned, criticised or punished.

    Media comments mocking Warburton for saying the refs should be doing their jobs and stopping potential career threatening injuries arent exactly helpful either. The referees are there to essentially protect players from these things.

  2. The media is there to sell its self not make moral judgements in the same way lawyers are there to make money not get justice.

  3. the leg breaker on Oduwa, a young loanee in the opening minute and the rugby tackle and deliberate knee to head on Dom Ball also a young loanee in the opening minutes look pre planned to me.

    • Absolutely agree mate, you can just hear the pre match team talk: –
      'right, they like their fancy football, well let's get out there and hit them hard early on, clatter them early and don't let them settle, it's unlikely you'll be booked in the first minute or two so get in and get in hard, we might get a chance to knock one past them and if we keep them off their stride we'll stop them scoring, don't let them make mugs of you'
      …probably sums up last minute team talks for sides playing Rangers just now. As Warbs said about Oduwa he's smart and will learn to counter…so will the rest of our team.

  4. The Compliance officer seems very reluctant to take action when Rangers are on the receiving end of violent conduct, but quick to act when they are perceived to be the perpetrators, now, only a fool would suggest that this is due to his Footballing affiliations, surely Sporting Integrity is uppermost in his job description, aye right.

  5. Supporters of other team are quick to point out that we have dished it out in the past Jig for instance was no shrinking violet ,but yes the skilful players of no matter what team deserve protection ,and that includes us .

  6. Its no wonder Livingston players act this way when their manager is openly encouraging this kind of play, it's beyond belief that the Sfa have took no action against Burchill for his racist comments or the st mirren fans for the racist abuse against our player. The Sfa are hardly selling our product well, no wonder spouncers are always avoiding our product

  7. after all the media attention regarding the tackle on oduwa had why didnt the compliance officer in the circumstances take action against the livi player and also their manager for the disgraceful comments he made if had been a rangers player and manager that were involved it would have been a different story

  8. On reflection, could that early booking possibly just have a tad to do with putting to bed anyone's idea of trying to emulate the Oduwa tackle?

  9. I would like to know,,,,what is our board doing about this barbaric treatment to our players?. We hear nothing from them. No appeal to SFA. SFA can only deal with something if an official complaints is entered to them for investigation. Dont blame them if Rangers havent applied to complain about the referees!!,,blame our directors for not coming out and condemning their actions,,ive nothing from them!!

  10. Its becoming a pain i know we sing no one likes us we dont care, but tbh we ned to stick up for ourselves we should be chasing the SFA/SPFL to try & sort this out, If a man has his leg broken that cold be career ending so thye really need to come out & say something about it

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