Radio pundit Alan Brazil has questioned the Scottish FA’s decision to hand a ban to Celtic star Ryan Christie, writing in his Sunday Post column (12/01 print edition, Post Match supplement, page 16).

Christie was suspended by a compliance officer and three-referee panel after being adjudged to have grabbed Ibrox striker Alfredo Morelos by the genitals.

The governing body described it as an act of ‘brutality’ in their official reasoning for the decision.

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The whole debacle has angered Celtic – from fans to staff to players – all of whom have spoken out in Christie’s defence.

Brazil is the latest to lend his support, suggesting far worse actions have been committed in the derby down the years.

As quoted by The Sunday Post (12/01 print edition, Post Match supplement, page 16): “Christie grabbing Gers striker Alfredo Morelos by his delicate parts was punishable under the laws of the game.

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“But did it merit a two-game ban? It’s no wonder the argument that followed has been so silly. The incident that sparked it was daft itself!

“The SFA called it “brutality”. Really? As far as I can remember, far worse things used to happen in Old Firm games.

“It was almost traditional back when I was a young lad watching from the terraces that in the first 10 minutes, you let your opponent know you were there.”

Someone needs to step up in Christie’s place

Due to previously being sent off this season, Christie will in fact miss three matches due to suspension, ruling him out of matches against Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock and Ross County.

Right now he is injured anyway, so the suspension itself might not have much impact.

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie / (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

However, being without Christie for a number of matches isn’t a particularly nice thought given his importance to the team this season.

He’s our top scorer this season with 17 in all competitions. He’s also been a creative force, registering 13 assists. That kind of firepower going missing for three matches in the middle of a season is far from ideal.

Someone else is going to have to step up and replace that contribution. We simply can’t afford to drop points right now.

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