CELTIC captain Scott Brown will be able to play in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden, despite being shown a straight red card against Ross County yesterday in Dingwall.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers had said immediately after the match that he didn’t have any concerns over the decision for a lunge on County’s Liam Boyce, but the club will lodge an appeal with the SFA. Due to the Easter holidays, today is not deemed to be a “working day” at the governing body, and as such, all fast-track appeals will not be heard until Thursday, April 27.
That means that Brown will be free to play against their Glasgow rivals at the weekend after all.
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Rodgers, when asked if he had any complaints over Brown’s red card, said: “No. Scotty has gone in and caught the boy late, but I’d have to see it again. But Scott has been brilliant this season. He’s never once made a challenge like that. He’s been aggressive and strong.
“In his defence, the referee was letting a lot go on him. But that was the referee’s making. It was a poor end to the game,” he added.
What had upset Rodgers, and evidently Brown, towards the conclusion of what had been a relatively routine if keenly contested match to that point, was referee Don Robertson’s decision to award Ross County a late penalty for a quite outrageous dive from substitute Alex Schalk after Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko had pulled out of a challenge on him in the area.
Rodgers was furious with the actions of Schalk, which he labelled as blatant cheating, but he saved the worst for referee Don Robertson, describing his decision to award the spot-kick as “embarrassing”.
“Scott was a bit late in the tackle, I think he was a little bit frustrated by the referee for a number of reasons, not just the penalty,” Rodgers said. “I think there were a number of incidents he missed on him that were pretty clear.
“Scotty has gone in, challenged for the ball and been late. But the talking point of the game is the penalty. It’s absolutely awful to take when it costs you another win. The players have worked very hard and controlled three quarters of the game.
He continued: “There is no danger but the referee absolutely takes the point away from us.
“I have seen some bad decisions up here since I’ve been at Celtic but that is the worst. He is right in front of it and there is clearly no contact.
“But is it cheating? It is. Let’s not fudge and beat about the bush. You see it in the game but the referee lost control of the game, which led to the penalty and the sending off.