BLETHER: Players should show passion and celebrate a goal – but stay on the pitch and keep your shirt on!

© David Young
Darren O'Dea celebrates with the Dundee support after scoring against Ross County last season.

Prior to Scotland’s World Cup encounter in Slovenia in October, manager Gordon Strachan warned Leigh Griffiths not to get booked for over-celebrating if he scored.

“This should be a set warning for all players,” said BwB reader Gerry Dignan, from Charleston, Dundee.

“Getting booked needlessly is ridiculous.

“Running to the crowd, pulling off your shirt (that one really annoys me), and means a booking.

“Like it or not, agree with it or not, it is the rules. Spectators, commentators, etc, state: ‘He’ll get booked but he doesn’t care’.

“Well he should.

“The bookings add up and suddenly he’s suspended.

“No-one seems to make a comment on why the suspension has happened.

“His bookings have added up, but it’s just part and parcel of the game.

“No it isn’t!”

Gerry Dignan

Gerry, who retired from teaching, but currently continues as a supply teacher, offered an example: “If I was a manager, I’d be furious if players were getting booked for non-football related matters.

“I watched Dundee skipper Darren O’Dea get booked for over-celebrating a penalty goal against Ross County last season.

“Everyone thought it was fantastic to see him run into the crowd, pushing stewards aside, ignoring the linesman, and getting booked.

“One comment on social media was: ‘I’d take a booking for that any day of the week’.

“When I contradicted all the gushing compliments by suggesting he could have been sent off if he had to make a difficult tackle in the remaining 15 minutes when our safety in the Premier League was still in doubt, I was treated as if I was some kind of joy killer.

“I also complained about Paul McGowan running the full length of the pitch to goad Dundee United fans when he scored the winner in one of the early-season derbies.


“Because the whole team followed him.

“This meant our team had returned to our own side of the pitch and that the referee would have been within his rights to start the game while we were celebrating, possibly losing a goal.

“I was told: ‘Ridiculous, it would never happen.

“Well, it already has in a Celtic v Rangers match, which was re-started while Celtic were celebrating in front of the jungle (there are other instances on YouTube).

“I’m all for passion in the game, but professionally.

“Look at Dundee’s Dee-fiant season. Every single goal was celebrated wildly by the players due to the nature of their importance, but I don’t think a single player was booked for celebrating. They stayed on the grass, thus staying within boundaries.

“They were probably told the squad was so small, they couldn’t afford to have stupid bookings. It can be done.

“Celebrate as much as you want but just stay on the pitch — and keep your shirt on!”

I know Gerry was involved in local schools football and I asked him for a rundown on his ‘career’ in that field.

“I ran the Brackens PS football team and then Craigowl PS when it merged, having had a fair degree of success with both teams,” he said.

“I still run the Craigowl team.

“I’m also the Primary League Secretary for the Dundee Schools’ Football Association (DSFA) and have been so for 15 years.

“I have a plaque award from the SFA for 20 years of commitment to schools football and a couple of years back the Active Schools presented me with a Special Achievement Award.

“There are currently 31 schools involved in four leagues depending on the size of the school with cup competitions, which culminates in the cup final week in June at Elliot Road.”

Gerry keeps fit by playing badminton once a week, and is now currently trying ‘walking football’.

He continued: “I’ve also been a turnstile operator at Dens and Tannadice for nearly 30 years, but, in the last year, have changed to working in the command room at Dens, logging communications around the stadium.

“I support Dundee, and have done since I was 15.”