Celtic blame Neymar for Scott Brown dismissal

A new theory is emerging as to why Scotland has stopped producing world class footballers. It transpires that Scottish players are playing a different game to the rest of us, adhering to their own rules and unique interpretations of the laws of the game.

According to Law 12 of the FIFA laws of the game, a player is sent off if he commits violent conduct.

“A player is guilty of violent conduct if he uses excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball,” state the rules.

While the vast majority of the football world – barring a few stubborn pockets of resistance in England – accept that kicking an opponent off the ball constitutes violent conduct, last night’s Champions League match between Celtic and Barcelona, appears to show that in Scotland, such incidents are seen in an altogether more forgiving light.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon was furious with referee Stephane Lannoy for sending Brown off, and livid with Barcelona forward Neymar’s decision to complain about being kicked by his captain, but when it came to the perpetrator himself, he was strangely moot.

“I don’t think Neymar does himself any favours by the way he behaves at times,” Lennon said.

“So I don’t think I need to apologise to Neymar and I don’t think I need to justify the defence of my captain.

“There was a lot more going on in the game that warranted heavier punishment, so it was a game-changing decision,” he added.

“The sending-off is uncalled for and unnecessary. It’s very soft. I have looked at it; if there was any contact it was minimal.

“There’s no question it was a foul. The referee was going to book Scott for the initial foul. Then the tap, if you want to call it that – is it dangerous play? I’m not so sure.”

It’s bad enough that the players don’t know the laws of the game, but when it’s the managers too, what hope does Scotland have?