Sunday, 28 November 2010

Hibs and Saints grind out a draw

Hibs try to turn the game
Not having thought about it as much as I should have beforehand, I definitely found that I had qualms as I approached Easter Road yesterday afternoon. Given that Hibernian's home fixture against St Johnstone and other Scottish Premier League games were only going ahead because overseas officials (in this case, three from Malta) had been drafted in to replace striking Scottish refs, turning up felt - as Walter Smith said the other day - "like being a scab". One official from Israel said he "felt deceived" by the SFA.  Thankfully I got a comp in the end. I think I might have balked at handing that cash over. Having been a trade union member for my whole working life, I've never crossed a picket line. Just 44 officials could hardly mount one at eight different venues in pursuit of their campaign to end abuse and false accusations of bias. Even so, they have a strong point to make and I've written to the SFA to back it. The issue is not that officials should be immune from criticism or accountability, but that they should be able to do a difficult and not very well rewarded job without intimidation.

Steven Thicott at half-time
As for this particular footballing encounter... well, as Dean King from Dumbarton (Helensburgh, actually) put it afterwards, "nice reffing, shame about the game!" We and his son had met up for a drink at the Middleton Bar before the match, since DFC were not playing due to the referees' action. Hibs are also my local side now that I reside in Leith. I'm 20 minutes' walk from their famous ground. Due to my prior Sons commitments and the happenstance of when midweek opportunities to see them come up, this is the first time I've got to Easter Road since moving to Edinburgh. (I've been to Tynecastle twice. Sorry Hibees!). With the new stand, it's a fine stadium, and I was fortunate enough to be given a seat a few rows up right on the half-way line. Not that this made the football any prettier. Both sides laboured, but a combination of poor decision making, iffy distribution and disappointing first touches on the ball made it a lacklustre display with barely any chances at either end. There will be better green and white afternoons or evenings, I'm sure. New boss Colin Calderwood will certainly be hoping so. For what it's worth, my man of the match was Hibs no 22, Daniel Galbraith. He worked his socks off.

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