CELTIC have failed in what appears to have been an attempt to have a

referee, Jim McCluskey, prohibited from handling their future matches,

and reading between the lines, it is obvious the club have been rebuked

for their insolence.

After yesterday's SFA council meeting, the chief executive, Jim Farry,

made it clear the association were not at all happy that Celtic had

sought to influence the appointment of referees. ''Clubs often object to

the performance of the referee, but the council are disappointed that

the club should seek to influence appointments.''

The Parkhead club had written to the SFA comlaining about McCluskey's

handling of this season's first Old Firm match, which was played at

Celtic Park at the end of August. Rangers won the match 2-0 -- Mark

Hateley scored both goals -- but Celtic's supporters, and obviously the

directors, were incensed after Pieter Huistra tackled Tommy Coyne, who

was bearing down on goal, from the back on the edge of Rangers' box.

Huistra was booked and allowed to stay on the field when the vast

majority inside Celtic Park were convinced he should have walked in

accordance with new guidelines. Clearly McCluskey was of the view that

Gary Stevens was rushing in and might have made a tackle.

Celtic saw this as the turning point in the match, and perhaps after

brooding over the incident, wrote to the SFA. The letter arrived in

front of the disciplinary committee who, in deciding to note the terms

of the club's complaint, had no hesitation ''in rejecting the request

regarding the appointment of this referee to future matches involving

the club.''

The committee's communique to the full council yesterday went on to

state: ''The committee was disappointed to receive such a letter, and

while acknowledging that the appointment of officials for this match was

made by the Scottish Football League, it decided the club be advised, in

unambiguous terms, that it is not a matter for a club to seek to

influence refereeing gradings of appointments. The obvious difficulties

which would arise if that state of affairs were ever to come about

should harldy need to be stated.''

Clearly, the authorities have moved smartly to remind Celtic of their

place and their attempt to become McCluskey-free must now be a source of

embarrassment to two people in particular. Kevin Kelly, who becomes the

club's chairman at the end of this month, is a member of the

disciplinary committee while the man he is about to succeed, Jack

McGinn, is treasurer of the SFA.

Celtic's chief executive Terry Cassidy, who is in Neuchatel with the

team for their UEFA Cup, second-round tie against Xamax, made no comment


Dundee United's out-of-contract Yugoslavian internationalist, Miodrag

Krivokapic, has been training at East End Park, although Dunfermline's

manager Jocky Scott made it clear yesterday that he does not intend to

sign the player. ''He is friendly with our Yugoslavian player, Milos

Drizic, and I have agreed to his training here,'' said Scott.