CELTIC have admitted they are “astonished” to learn Ryan Christie has been hit with an SFA notice of complaint for an alleged incident involving Ibrox striker Alfredo Morelos in the 2-1 loss on Sunday.

The playmaker had already been booked when he was penalised for a tussle with the Colombian with replays appearing to show an alleged grab at his opponent’s groin area.

Referee Kevin Clancy did not show the Scotland international a yellow card for the incident.

The complaint is raised under rule 200, A2, which states: “Where any one of the sending off offences of (A1) serious foul play, (A2) violent conduct, and (A3) spitting at an opponent or any other person is committed by a player at a match, but that sending off offence was not seen by any of the match officials at the time that it was committed, the mandatory suspension for that sending off offence as provided for in Annex C of the Judicial Panel Protocol shall be applied to the player.”

The hearing will take place on Monday, January 6, and, if found guilty, the sanction would carry a two-match ban.

A Celtic statement insisted: “We are absolutely astonished at this decision. Clearly we will defend Ryan vigorously.”

The champions could point to a similar incident involving the two players at Ibrox on December 29, 2018 when Morelos appeared to grab Christie in a sensitive area. Match official John Beaton chose to turn a blind eye to the clash and overlooked two other incidents involving the home player when he had a sly kick at Scott Brown and appeared to stamp on Anthony Ralston. No retrospective action was taken by the SFA.

Christie saw a first-half penalty saved by Allan McGregor and was withdrawn nine minutes from time with a groin complaint, as CQN reported.

If he accepts the charge or is found in breach, then the classy midfielder will miss the holders’ Scottish Cup-tie against Partick Thistle at Firhill on January 18 and the visit to Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock in the Premiership four days later.

* HAPPY New Year, folks, from the CQN team. We hope 2020 is prosperous and peaceful for you and yours.


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