It’s the dead horse that ‘they’ are ‘all’ flogging…
I refer to the never-ending anguish of Sevco’s Andy Halliday, who once got sent off for a second bookable offence having raised his arms in celebration towards Morton fans…
Honestly, I am weeping while writing this blog. Mind you, that’s nothing compared to the flood of tears which flowed when reading this minor Evening Shark-Jump classic this morning:
Yes, the level of Halliday’s trauma over an incident which happened back on 25 January is such that a headline that long really was required.
“I am not going to go into it too much because I want to try and move on from it.”
“I want to move on from it.”
…said Halliday in a series of comments that were as far away from ‘moving on’ as it is possible to be.
Halliday’s remarks – which were lapped up by the Evening Shark-Jump as only they can – were headed by a picture of him promoting a “special 4 game ticket package” for Sevco. And they were followed by information on how to purchase tickets that was so subtle it was almost subliminal…
[NB if you want to read an almost-as-brilliant account of Halliday’s howling, I recommend this piece from the Record. In it, Halliday “breaks his silence” about how he was left “devastated”…]
So what exactly was said in The Clumpany’s favourite media outlet?
Here are some extracts:
“IT was the incident that Andy Halliday classes as the lowest point of his Rangers career. And it is the one the midfielder reckons could see the fun being sucked out of Scottish football as players fear the repercussions of what should be one of the best highs in the game.
Just weeks after being wrongly sent off in the top of the table clash with Hibernian at Ibrox, Halliday saw red for the second time in Light Blue against Morton in January.
After celebrating a Barrie McKay strike that would prove to be the winner at Cappielow, Halliday was shown a second yellow for his actions as he walked up the middle of the park with his arms raised.
The decision left boss Mark Warburton, his team-mates and Gers fans furious, and attracted widespread criticism throughout our game as Halliday’s joy turned to despair.
The 24-year-old has been a key player for Rangers this term as he has helped his boyhood heroes move to within touching distance of the Championship title. And Halliday hopes his fellow professionals don’t succumb to the same killjoy rules and regulations in the future.
He said: ‘If you play for Rangers*, it’s a 24/7 lifestyle – you get abuse no matter where you go. We’re big enough characters to accept that. But the one thing you’re going to enjoy is a Saturday when your team are scoring goals and if you take that away from us, then you’re taking the fun away, it’s as simple as that.
I would completely understand if I had walked towards the Morton fans or ran towards them, but I was in the centre circle and five seconds after that fist pump I have turned round to go again from the kick off.
Like I’ve said from day dot I think it was unjustified. Whether the linesman thinks he’s made a mistake then I’ll never know. At the end of the day we are all human and if he has, he can hold his hand up and we’ll get on with it. But hopefully we can re-evaluate the situation in the summer.’
But it was a tough time for the midfielder as he was forced to watch on from the stands due to a controversial call that grabbed the headlines in Scotland and beyond. The Hampden rulebook meant Rangers were unable to launch a bid to overturn Halliday’s suspension and the Ibrox star has sympathy for players who fall foul to the regulations.
Halliday said: ‘It was probably the lowest point I have had in my Rangers career. When it comes twice in the space of three or four weeks you just want answers, it’s a simple as that.
With the structure we have got in place you can’t appeal two bookings. Hopefully they will change something like that come the end of the season. The disappointing thing for me was seeing the video analysis from the stand directly behind the linesman’s view. We could see what happened.
I am not going to go into it too much because I want to try and move on from it. But it was probably the lowest point I have had in a Rangers jersey.
[I did] nothing. [I] celebrated a goal. It is disappointing. If you get sent off you can’t approach officials, it’s as simple as that. Staff members will. But my mentality since that day was trying to move on from it. Hopefully stuff will change come the end of the season regarding it. You don’t want to completely change the rules so you can appeal after every two booking offences.
But in an outstanding situation like that you would like to think that common sense prevails and something will get done. Hopefully at the end of the season they can re-evaluate that.”
So Halliday doesn’t want to rewrite the rules, but instead have a ‘special case’ clause which could be applied to the likes of… Andy Halliday.
To be fair, Halliday also commented on others (specifically Hibs’ Jason Cummings) who have come a-cropper after celebrating goals. And he does (sort of) make a valid wider point: that card-happy officials can spoil the game.
But come on! “Probably the lowest point I have had in my Rangers* career”! You’ve only been there 5 minutes Andy, you got sent off for two avoidable yellow cards and you didn’t miss a cup final. Man up!
Strangely, the piece is silent on the reason for Halliday’s first yellow card against Morton, and the fact that it left him vulnerable to a sending off. Something which he perhaps ought to have borne in mind at the time. [He had been booked four minutes earlier “for a pull on Morton’s Declan McManus.”]
Nor is there any mention of the officials’ explanation for the second yellow, which The Warbmeister himself previously explained to Sevco TV
“The explanation was that Andy made a gesture that could incite a riot or trouble with the Morton fans.
[But] it’s in the middle of the pitch and he’s walking back in front of the Rangers* fans.”
The officials’ perspective (given they generally have the last word on the pitch) is a fairly pertinent detail in this story, and I would have thought it might have been worth mentioning. Oh well…
However, my favourite part of the piece was when its author bemoaned “the Hampden rulebook” which meant Sevco were unable to appeal the sending off. Yes, the Evening Shark-Jump commented on the constraints which the rule book imposes on Sevco.
Isn’t it fantastic?!
And as for the the ‘fun’ being sucked out of Scottish football, I suggest the Evening Shark-Jump goes away for a long think, and only comes back when it is ready for a serious conversation about the way the ‘same club’ took the fun out of Scottish football for large numbers of fans for the best part of a decade. You may remember the period to which I refer. It was characterised by financial doping and creative administrative processes which some would now like to airbrush out of history.
Meanwhile, please pray for Andy Halliday. It’s tough being a Sevco player when the system has got it in for you. 😉