Ryan Christie has been banned for a total of three fixtures after the SFA turned down Celtic’s appeal against the compliance officer’s offer of a two-match ban for violent conduct for an incident that happened during the clash against Rangers at Parkhead.
The additional game suspension comes as a result of Christie already having been sent off this season against Livingston for a reckless tackle which ultimately cost his side the three points.
Celtic have issued a strongly worded statement in response to the ban and it was reported in The Daily Record:
“Celtic Football Club and Ryan Christie are extremely disappointed at the outcome of the hearing today”.
“Given the recent treatment of Celtic players and the lack of sanctions being imposed on those responsible, the fact that a sanction has been imposed on Ryan for the incident in question demonstrates a worrying lack of consistency in the Scottish FA fast track process”.
“Naturally, we will be contacting the Scottish FA regarding our concerns. Scottish football deserves a disciplinary process which is fair, consistent and fit for purpose”.
The initial reaction has been a comparison between Christie’s ban and Alfredo Morelos escaping one last season despite an almost identical incident, The Record explained how the referee’s role plays an important part in whether or not additional sanction’s can be sought by the SFA.
The compliance officer role came under scrutiny last season after a series of bizarre decisions and it appeared as if Clare Whyte had been instructed to lessen her intrusion into the Scottish game, however, the scatter gun approach has reared it’s head again with incidents involving Morelos, Ryan Kent, Scott Brown and Christopher Jullien which were more worthy of retrospective action being ignored.
Celtic’s statement doesn’t go as far as to back Rangers calls for VAR but it does support their calls for greater consistency and an improvement in, not only refereeing, but the disciplinary process as a whole.
Christie and the Hoops will not really feel any impact from the ban as the £500k signing from Inverness Caledonian Thistle is currently out injured after undergoing surgery immediately after the Glasgow derby.
Would VAR solve the SFA's disciplinary procedure problems?
The SFA have yet to respond to Celtic’s statement but if history is anything to go by, don’t expect an acceptance that the disciplinary system isn’t fit for purpose and that changes are needed despite it being the one thing that both sides of the Glasgow divide can agree upon.