Date: 22nd April 2008 at 1:47pm
Written by:

On Saturday in the match between Celtic and Aberdeen at Parkhead, Aberdeen’s Zander Diamond scored in the last minute to give the Dons a deserved draw. However, match official Iain Brines ruled out the goal for hand ball by Diamond in the build up to the goal.

Ricky Foster floated the ball towards the box, Diamond rose and flicked the ball on to Barry Nicholson, who chested it back to Diamond, who lashed the ball into the Celtic net.

But Brines thought that when Diamond headed it on to Nicholson, he’d used his hand.

At the time, no-one, not even TV commentators, were sure what the offence was or who it was by. Replays couldn’t even come up with a suggestion as to what had been given.

Diamond had absolutely blatantly headed the ball and his hands were very literally nowhere near the ball.

A few years ago after some controversial decision the Scottish Football Association created a new section on their website called Whistleblower for referees to speak about controversial decisions they have made.

Speaking today, Brines told the SFA, ‘In the final minute of the match, Aberdeen were attacking within the Celtic half of the field of play. The ball was on the left wing and was crossed into the packed Celtic penalty area. From the angle I had adopted I observed the Aberdeen player Diamond jump to meet the ball and I believed he used his hand to aid the ball’s flight beyond him. On reflection and having had the opportunity to view the incident via television, I fully accept that I called this incident completely wrong.’

In his post-match interview Diamond had made some strong comments in reference to Brines’ performance, ‘Saying I used my hand is an absolute joke and that sums him up. The decision is unbelievable. If that’s one of Scotland’s top officials, I think we’re in trouble.’

However, he is unlikely to be in trouble after turning out to be right.

In my opinion, although it may have ended Aberdeen’s European hopes for next season and lost the possibility of the club making millions of pounds, at least he had the balls to admit his mistake.

When these types of things don’t involve your team you normally can’t care less. But when these things happen it makes me and probably a few other people wonder whether Aberdeen should be given a point. Celtic can keep their [undeserved] three but surely in such a blatant case Aberdeen should be awarded one.

For Brines full ‘apology’, click here.