After just seven games prior to the international break there is a two point gap at the top of the Scottish Premiership, after the Hoops’ shock defeat to St. Mirren on 18 September narrowed the lead they had opened after a 4-0 Old Firm derby win in the previous round (3 September).
But in a season that has already had its fair share of refereeing controversies and is still yet to see the introduction of video technology, it appears that the Gers’ cross-town neighbours are getting the rub of the green from the officials.
According to stats laid out by Football Scotland, the Light Blues have been shown 15 yellow cards and two red cards so far from 75 total fouls committed, averaging out to a card every 4.41 fouls.
That puts Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side 10th out of the 12 teams in the league for the lowest average before they are shown a card.
In contrast Ange Postecoglou’s men are afforded the third-highest number of fouls before receiving a card, totting up only 10 yellows without any reds so far, from just eight fewer infringements at 67.
That gives them an average of 6.7, only 0.033 off the most leniently treated side, Motherwell, who have been given 14 yellows and a red from 101 fouls.
Opponents will obviously accuse any Gers fans who cite this as evidence that they are being unfairly treated of looking for excuses.
Statistics don’t prove everything, but the numbers certainly suggest an advantage for some teams over others, with averages that far apart mounting up to large differences over the course of a few games or an entire season.
It won’t be lost on Bears supporters that the two point deficit at the top of the table is a result of the 2-2 draw against Hibernian on 20 August, where Wille Collum sent off both John Lundstram and Alfredo Morelos before a late equaliser saw the team drop points.
The Morelos red of course led to his being dropped from the squad, and caused significant disquiet from his own teammates, but the Lundstram decision was ludicrous.
Collum showed the midfielder a straight red for an almost identical challenge on Martin Boyle to one that he was the recipient of from Jake Doyle-Hayes earlier in the same game which the referee only deemed a booking.
While he is clearly not the only man in charge of SPFL games the most recent stats will add to the feelings of injustice at Ibrox.
The Old Firm defeat showed that Celtic are a better team head-to-head currently, but as the Gers look to overturn that they appear not to be on a level playing field so far this year.