FERW applauds the spirit of fair play shown over the weekend at a Scottish Premier League match.

Rangers was playing Partick Thistle and the score was balanced at 1-1. But a major misunderstanding led to Malik Tillman thinking his opponents had made an error, whereas in fact the ball had been deliberately played out while he had been on the ground. Tillman showed some remarkedly deft footwork in getting past his confused opponents, but understandably the latter were a bit annoyed – as were the fans.

His smile very quickly disappeared as the facts became clear. Technically a goal was scored, but everyone knew what the honourable thing to do was – to let Thistle have a free run in return and to negate the advantage. The Rangers goalkeeper mischievously put a little notional effort it, but an equalising goal followed.

Rangers eventually got their third, and with it a win. But the unusual set of events remind us a few things about football. Firstly, that acting honourably and dropping an advantage gained improperly doesn’t necessarily mean you end up losing.  Secondly, that the game is bigger than just the rules, as narrowly defined. And finally, that sportsmanship is a value that unites.




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