Celtic legend John Hartson has set the record straight over the behaviour from Aberdeen on Sunday.
Dominic Ball and Lewis Ferguson were both sent off for nasty challenges in either half. Ferguson’s two-footed lunge on Tom Rogic was a particularly brutal flashpoint.
Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty was also sent to the stand, with manager Derek McInnes following him in the second-half.
It was an incredible lack of professionalism from the Dons. And Celtic legend Hartson has claimed that the Hoops would never get away with such behaviour from the press. Speaking in the Evening Times, Hartson gave his hard-hitting verdict.
“Let’s just imagine for a minute that Aberdeen had beaten Celtic 3-0 on Sunday, Celtic had two men sent off and Neil Lennon had been sent to the stand for making a gesture to the crowd. Can you imagine the headlines on Monday morning?
“The police would be getting involved, the SFA would be getting involved, they’d all be saying ‘ban him, sack him, they are out of order, Scott Brown needs to be kicked out of the club.’ The whole country would be going absolutely mental.
“If the roles were reversed there would have been huge ructions, so the fact is that Celtic have to be good on the discipline side of things at all times, and you have to take your hat off to them for the way they handle these heated encounters.”
Just look at the Glasgow derby for proof
Hartson is 100% spot on. Firstly, Aberdeen have certainly been criticised post-match. The BBC, for example, tore them to shreds in their Sportsound programme. But, had it been Celtic that lost the rag on Sunday? It would rumble on for days or perhaps weeks.
All you have to do is look at the recent Glasgow derby. Celtic overcame Rangers 2-1 at Celtic Park, and Rangers totally lost their discipline. They had both Alfredo Morelos and Andy Halliday sent off, whilst Ryan Kent also should’ve walked for lashing out at Scott Brown.
Yet much of the discussion post-match was about how Brown was winding up Rangers fans. Forget the fact that he had likely been receiving abuse from them, and he’d been the source of many jokes since the December 29th defeat at Ibrox. Brown apparently wasn’t allowed to give a bit back.
So Hartson is spot on. Celtic always have to keep their temperament. If they don’t, it gets picked up and over-analysed.
Aberdeen will continue to get a bit of stick over the next few days until their next match. They travel to Kilmarnock on Saturday in the Premiership. If they get three points, not many will likely be talking about their Hampden indiscipline.
Could the same be said if it was Celtic? You wouldn’t hold your breath.