Scottish Football, Sevco

Red Carpets and Cotton Wool

Good Morning (and please vote ‘Clumpany’ by 30 October!).

Woe is the Warbmeister!


Something isn’t 100% right, and the tears practically start to flow.

His Needy Warbliness [or ‘The Needy One’ as Jose Mourinho might call Warbs if he knew who he was] wasn’t happy following last night’s scrappy 1-0 win at home to Livi in the Perpetual Failure Cup. 

Consequently, headlines such as these can be found in the Scottish media today:

Mark Warburton says ‘my players need protection’ as Rangers count the cost of cup win over Livingston

Mark Warburton calls for protection from referees for his Rangers stars after ‘inappropriate’ challenges during controversial Livi cup clash

Rangers boss’ protection call after ‘inappropriate’ Livingston tackles

So what was the problem? Well, as STV reports:

“Referee Andrew Dallas showed eight yellow cards, five of them to the visitors, during a feisty clash at Ibrox”

“Kieran Gibbons’ challenge on Nathan Oduwa in the opening minute of the game sparked an angry reaction from the home crowd with the on-loan Tottenham player forced off at the interval.”

“And Warburton wasn’t happy with Dallas’ approach, saying: “The first tackle came in within 30 seconds and then four or five swiftly followed. He had to come off at half-time with bruising to the ankle and foot etc.”

“I just think it’s frustrating, to be polite. I saw Martyn Waghorn booked just before half-time and I have no idea what for, and then you see a number of tackles going unpunished.

“I never want to see players booked or red-carded but at times it’s necessary. It’s meant to be an entertainment industry and the tempo was very slow at times.”

“It is frustrating watching the game and talented players do need some protection. I’m not saying special treatment, but look after them. Some of the tackles were inappropriate.”

There he goes again, being ‘polite’ while having an almighty whinge!

Eight yellow cards – five of them for Livi – is hardly indicative of a referee not punishing the players for foul play.

The tackle on Oduwa was indeed a bad one, but Warbs should draw the SFA’s attention to it – perhaps making a complaint about the referee not punishing an offence adequately  – rather than engaging in generalised grandstanding. Unless of course he is simply trying to put pressure on those who will referee Sevco matches in future…

Because while The Needy One insists he is isn’t saying ‘special treatment’, that is of course EXACTLY what he is calling for. He is basically asking for ‘flair players’ to be allowed to to ‘their thing’, because that is somehow more worthwhile than other sorts of players ‘scrapping’ (and risking punishment from the referee) to get a result.


The Livi fouling against Sevco was so bad that even the reports of it carry an advert for funeral services…
I am sorry, but if you play an expansive style (which you openly discuss in the media) and have been banging in the goals, then you can expect the opposition to turn up with a plan to stifle you. And the chances are that it will be pretty ugly fare.

Even the recently-besmirched David Weir recognised that this is what teams are likely to do, and talked about Sevco adapting to it.

So ‘man up’ Warbo! 

Given the large number of penalties Warbo’s side has already been awarded this season, it seems pretty laughable to call for referees to paying closer attention to the contact his players receive on the pitch.

What would he prefer? That games are played with all 22 players wrapped in cotton wool? That a red carpet is laid between Sevco players and the goal, with the flash of admiring photographers’ cameras as the only potential hindrance?

You have to wonder what sort of existential crisis The Needy One might have been experiencing right now had Lee McCulloch still been a Sevco player. Now there’s a player who made a few robust “unpunished tackles” in his time!

Still, all’s well that ends well, and the Warbolution has now taken another step towards fulfilling the Big Petrofac Dream of 500 million Sevco fans.

Well done Mark. But please lay off the hilarious calls for ‘protection’. You are unlikely ever to work in a more ‘straightforward’ and sympathetic footballing environment than you are right now. You are leading the second tier by some distance (with by far the biggest player budget), are still in two cups, have a sympathetic fan base, and benefit from a positively fawning media that is hanging on your every word.

All this ‘protection’ guff gives the impression you think the world owes your side a favour. We’ve heard that schtick before, Mark. And despite the enormous powers of your ‘Magic Hat’ you really aren’t the manager of Rangers Football Club.


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