The IFAB rule that shows Livingston’s boss after his Celtic moans

Livingston manager David Martindale had a lot to say about Celtic’s 3-1 win over his side at the Tony Macaroni Arena yesterday.

Indeed, while acknowledging the superiority of Celtic, he lamented the number 1 and 2 goals of the Hoops. The first, he had legitimate reason to be frustrated after the corner from which Celtic scored clearly came out of Anthony Ralston beforehand.

However, for the second, it turns out that he has nothing to stand on. Martindale told Sky Sports that Tom Rogic ‘caught’ the ball in the build-up to Nicky Devlin’s own goal. This happened after the ball bounced off the Celtic man’s hand as we pushed forward.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

But the truth is, it’s not something that would have been banned under official IFAB guidelines. Indeed, according to their official Laws of the Game [IFAB, Laws of the Game, 12.1]it states the following:

“It is an offense if a player deliberately touches the ball with his hand/arm, for example by moving the hand/arm towards the ball.

“It is an offense if a player touches the ball with his hand/arm when it has made his body abnormally larger. A player is considered to have abnormally enlarged his body when the position of his hand/arm arm is not a consequence or is not justifiable by the movement of the player’s body in that specific situation. By having his hand/arm in such a position, the player takes the risk of his hand/arm being hit by the ball and be penalised.

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Tom Rogic’s handball doesn’t fit into any of these categories

First of all, can we honestly say that Rogic deliberately handled the ball? Of course, it wasn’t deliberate, so here’s that argument.

Second, did Rogic make himself abnormally bigger? And if so, was it justifiable by the movement of his body for the situation? The truth is, it doesn’t matter, because Rogic hasn’t grown at all. The incident takes place directly in front of him and it turns into a bit of a scramble.

We can invent interpretations of the rules as much as we want. Everyone will have a different view of what constitutes a handball foul. But according to IFAB rules, Rogic did absolutely nothing wrong yesterday.

Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images

Certainly, this will be difficult for many to accept. We know how much easier it is to complain about the referees and act like Celtic benefit from the decisions instead of just accepting how good we are. We are waiting for all of this.

But it’s important to put all of this in context. Yes, you can say our penalty was incidental. You can even complain about our first goal, although there was still a lot of work to do from the corner. But questioning the second everything is flat on his face.

Rogic didn’t handle the ball in a way that would constitute a foul. There’s really nothing else to discuss here.

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