Celtic-Rangers: Handball on the Line Rule Has to Change

Jamie MasonCorrespondent IApril 16, 2008

In an exciting Auld Firm game last night Carlos Cuellar's right hand almost brought Rangers the SPL title. 

A shot from Japanese international Shunsuke Nakamura looked destined for the top left hand corner but the Rangers defender dived to his right and tipped the ball over the bar. 

The result, a penalty for Celtic and a deserved red card for Cuellar. Scott McDonald was the chosen player to take the penalty which injured keeper Allan McGregor saved.

The question has to be asked, was justice done. 

Rangers lost a player, Celtic weren't awarded the goal and the resulting penalty missed so both teams were punished, is this fair?

To me this rule needs to be changed. Last nights game showed that sometimes cheaters prosper but what should be done? 

The answer to me is quite simple. If a shot looks goal bound and is handled the referee should reward a penalty goal that way the attacking team get the goal they deserve, and for the defender, a yellow card just so they don't get away with their actions.

If Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink hadn't scored a 93rd minute winner the Scottish title would be all but over and the trophy Ibrox bound, instead the teams play at Parkhead again on the 27th with the league still wide open.

In an action packed derby last night it was a case of nothing but a win for Celtic and in the 20th minute Nakmura (not having the best of seasons) put the Hoops ahead with a 30 yard pile driver that swerved this way and that and gave Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor no chance.

Celtic had all the possession but just couldn't get that second goal and this meant that Rangers were still in touching distance and in the 10th minute of the second half Gers sub Nacho Novo silenced the Parkhead faithful with a goal to bring the teams level.

The amount of games Rangers are having to play looked like it was taking its toll on the players and they looked weary but were still holding on and looked like they got their point after Scott McDonald missed his penalty. 

Celtics players looked doomed to failure that was until in the third minute of injury time , Dutch hitman Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink headed in from close range to steal the points and sent the Celtic fans into delirium.

The gap at the top is now one point although Rangers have two games in hand. 

The next Auld Firm derby is another must win and Celtic will be hoping Rangers slip up if they are to win their third successive title. If that game is anything like last nights, it can't come quick enough.