Celtic tonight issued an unambiguous statement in support of Virgil Van Dijk, but one which slammed the SFA Discipline Committee for its inexplicable decision not to cite Calum Butcher for the offence in which the Dutch defender was sent off, and Paul Paton was dismissed in a case of mistaken identity.
The Celtic statement read “It seems completely illogical and fundamentally unfair that, in an incident where mistaken identity has been claimed, the Dundee United player now identified clearly as being involved in the incident appears to have no case to answer – and would be available to play in the League Cup final and the Scottish Cup replay between the two teams – while Celtic’s player may potentially miss both of those matches.”
This is not the first time the disciplinary committee has come in for deserved criticism from our club this season.
The scandalous decision to ban Alexander Tonev when there was no supporting evidence in his racism case also resulted in an angry statement from the club.
This latest incident comes about in the aftermath of the Dundee Utd cup quarter final at the weekend, where three players were dismissed and two penalty kicks awarded.
The Dundee Utd player, Aidan Connolly, has been accused of diving to win his side’s spot kick, which was converted by Nadir Ciftci, who has been cited for his petulant kick at Scott Brown, and offered a two match ban. Footage of the penalty incident does suggest he went down easily.
Connolly is not yet facing a case to answer, possibly because the media spotlight has not been shone on him as it was on Celtic players earlier this year.
Once again, the SFA Compliance Officers appear to be following their own logic.
In the aftermath of Tonev’s ban, a string of players have been allowed to play games despite violent conduct, where “not proven” verdicts have been given.
Celtic go into a tough spell over the next few weeks – playing the Tannadice club three times – already missing a host of players, although Lustig and Commons are both said to be on their way back to full fitness. Indeed, it might be said that Dundee Utd are the last realistic barrier between Ronny Deila’s team and a domestic treble.
Scott Brown was not cited in relation to Sunday’s match despite hysterical voices in the media ludicrously suggesting he had instigated the Van Dijk / Butcher incident. The captain hit back at the armchair critics at the weekend, telling them to “man up.”
If they do it will be the first time.