…but not how I expected them to. It would seem that rather than ‘taking sides’, the European football body have chosen to punish everyone…well almost.
Linfield have are charged with spectators hurling missiles onto the pitch and a field invasion. Celtic have been charged with racking up excessive yellow cards and last but not least, Leigh Griffiths charged with provoking spectators.
The charges against Linfield are totally understandable. Both the fan behaviour and the stewarding was unacceptable.
Almost ten years ago, Celtic were fined £25,000 by UEFA after a home supporter ran onto the Celtic Park pitch and confronted AC Milan goalkeeper Dida. The confrontation involved the fan approaching the player making a small amount of contact.
Dida gave chase and then chose to drop to the ground in a somehwat comedic fashion. Hsi overeaction earned him a two game ban by UEFA.
Now I get that this isn’t the same type of incident, but the fine on Linfield should be greater given the implications and the fact this is a decade on. It’s one thing to for a fan to invade the playing field, but it’s another to intend harm.
The missiles that rained down on Leigh Griffiths (and Jonny Hayes later on) as he attempted to take a corner, came long before the incident that UEFA wish to charge him for. If tying a Celtic scarf to the goal post in front of his own travelling fans – something that Griffiths has done at other away grounds – is deemed provocative then you have to look at the supporters, not the player.
Why would you get upset at such a thing? I mean, it’s not as if he blessed himself is it?
You have to question the fans. You also have to question the referee who lost failed to control the game.
So far I haven’t heard anything about the referee being reprimanded. And yet, he misjudged the safety of a player on the field of play.
If UEFA want to throw the book at Linfield and Celtic then they need to do the same to Alejandro José Hernández Hernández. He was already branded a bungling referee in a high-profile game which denied Barcelona a much needed win last season over Real Betis.
You can’t punish the clubs without accepting the mistakes of the officials as well. If you don’t then UEFA are as guilty as the clubs.
As yet, Celtic have not commented on the UEFA decision. They are unlikely to until this second leg against Linfield has been put to bed.
What you can probably be assured of is that Celtic won’t take this lying down. The decision to overturn Griffiths’ yellow card has already been ruled out as there no such appeals process for this type of booking.
The entire episode is farcical. In my mind the only thing Celtic are guilty of is five yellow cards and one of those should never have been issued in the first place.
Tomorrow night Celtic will put Linfield out of Europe and look ahead to the next round against Rosenborg or Dundalk. The sooner this match is over and done with the better.
We don’t need these kind of fans at Celtic Park. We have enough of them over at Ibrox and even then, that’s too close.