“Seconds out, round 2” – the new SPL…


As we alluded to in an earlier piece, Alfredo Morelos’ performance last night, while poor, wasn’t helped by the brutal slugathon than the match at Easter Road materialised as.

If it wasn’t David Gray scything down Morelos, it was McGregor clothesline smashing his fist into his face and remarkably avoiding red.

Seven bookings and a red card summed this match up, and we can’t help but feel the SPL has become a very, very violent place since Rangers’ return.

True, there is a case that Rangers’ players, despite the hopeful summer claims from Steven Gerrard that he was building a physically strong team that could fight back, aren’t tough enough to deal with the rigours of the SPL.

After all even the physically robust Bruno Alves was left looking borderline pathetic in this league – no surprise he’s back on form in Italy’s infinitely superior league.

But the problem cannot just be blamed at Rangers’ door for not having tough enough players – the reality is Darren McGregor is going to punch a player in the face regardless of how much muscle or tall that guy is.

David Gray is going to chop someone from behind whether he’s 5’5 and modest build or an 8ft armour plated killing machine.

The reality is the only man who can make the Scottish game less of a warzone is the referee. Quite simply refs are way too lenient on overly physical challenges which maim opponents and have little interest in acquiring the ball.

Last night’s ref McLean did as well as a limited ability ref can, but there seems to be an epidemic of unbelievably brutal attacks on the pitch, and it’s no wonder guys like Alfredo Morelos want out.

The SPL was not this physical in 2011. When Rangers were last truly good.

Think about the players we had in our team then – McGregor, Whittaker, Goian, Bocanegra, Papac, Edu, Davis, McKay, Aluko, Naismith, Jelavic, Lafferty.

Hardly exactly a bunch of cloggers either. No, the league as a whole has sacrificed playing quality for physical prowess.

And the only man on the field with the ability to keep it in check is the ref.


  1. Why don't you just suck it up it's your turn .. Brown, Robertson, Ferguson, Hurlock et al kicked lumps out of various sides who tried to play the beautiful game properly … In summary diddums

    • You're absolutely right – but they could play football too. And furthermore times have changed. Rules have changed. What teams got away with in the 80s and early 90s isn't acceptable today. That said, we can't say we remember much 'beautiful football' from the likes of Gary McKay, Tosh McKinley, Eamonn Bannon or Mickey Weir!

    • Hurlock was brought in specifically to defend his team mates from the "Hammerthrowers" of the league. Do you mean Scott Brown? Agreed.there have also been many Robertsons and Fergusons in different teams. Ian could take it and give it and still play good football.
      But today's knuckledraggers are not the same vintage. Having said that, never really considered Darren McGregor a thug. people have off days

    • No I don't mean Scott Brown he was at least a Scottish international Hurlock was a Millwall no mark. Robertson in fairness was an international too and a terrier watching the Real Kashmir documentary I have total respect for the guy, Todays knuggledraggers have to play within or near the rules .. in other words halving a guy is no longer a yellow 10 minutes in .. Yesterdays knuckledraggers wouldn't make it in the modern game.

  2. Spot on, I've been saying the same. not only does it ruin the game, but it's also what's leaving us behind on the international stage. We can develop technically good players, they just get halved all the time from the hammer throwers

  3. You are perfectly correct. Almost. But not because Rangers are back. It’s being like that for many years. OK , Celtic are enemy. But they have to put up with same shit. Every club in Scotland picks thugs at back and midfield and puts 10 behind the ball when playing against the Auld Firm and hope for a lucky day. It’s boring beyond belief. So Celtic have had to adapt to win titles. But when they set foot in Europe they have to change. Generally they fail. Rangers have same proble. SG has sought to play the beautiful game and has discovered what Scotland is all about. We are 20 years behind the times in Scotland. The refs can certainly help. But so too must the authorities. Our first game back in premiership was against Hamilton. We drew 1-1 against a team that just kicked the shit out of us. No protection from ref. Same next season against Hibs.Culture in Scotland must change. Hopefully we can lead way.

  4. "Seven bookings and a red card summed this match up" your joking,they should have at least 3 off the park ffs,yes your right the ref was a complete donkey again,the standard of referees in scotland is a farce like the spl


    • You need to stop blaming refs mate. I never hear a ref get shit when we win only when we drop any points. And we have had more physical players and a manager over the years than the bheasts from the east let's not deny that.

    • It's been said many times that we can blame ourselves for failing to pick up 3 points and I agree with that but the referee cannot be excused of any responsibility after a shocking performance. There were 5 clear mistakes that had a DIRECT influence on the result:
      1. Red card for McGregor and Hibs play with 10 men for 81 minutes.
      2. A penalty when Morelos is blatantly barged off the ball by Gray who made NO attempt to go for the ball. A red card should've followed for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity reducing Hibs to 9 men.
      3. At least a yellow card for Gray for a cynical foul on Kamara again making no effort to go for the ball.
      4. Gray should've been shown a straight red card for a disgraceful tackle on Morelos. Of course had he been shown a yellow card earlier he would not have been in a position to make that tackle. In fact Gray came off the pitch with just a yellow card to his name when 2 reds, a yellow and a penalty would've been more appropriate.
      5. A foul against Tavernier in the lead up to their goal. The referee was standing just 5 yards away and the Hibs player made NO contact with the ball.
      Scud, I suggest you reflect on these incidents then tell us again that we shouldn't blame referees.

  5. Technically our football is garbage . The refereeing allows physical aggressive behaviour as the norm !! Unless players are protected it will remain so. Gray and McGregor both should have been sent off earlier . Still not winning these games is our own fault

  6. How Gray stayed on the park was incredible,and why did we did not play down the left hand side until he was sent packing is more incredible.

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