REO HATATE was booked for a full-blooded challenge on Dundee United defender Kieran Freeman in the first-half of Celtic’s emphatic 3-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final win at Tannadice on Monday night.

There were the usual howls for a red card – “shameful” as CQN stated in our match report – but, thankfully, referee John Beaton was not swayed by the clamour for a dismissal.

One player not calling for the Japanese midfielder to be banished was the man on the receiving end of the tackle.

Freeman admitted: “I knew it was coming. I got the ball and tried to play it inside.

“These things happen. I’ll leave that to others to discuss. I was in the heat of the game and didn’t see too much.

“How much did he catch me? I’m not sure. I felt contact and it’s up to the referee to do whatever he thinks.”

FLASHPOINT…Reo Hatate has his say to referee John Beaton after his challenge floored Kieran Freeman.

YELLOW PERIL…John Beaton brandishes the card as Ryan Edwards makes a comment.

The 21-year-old Aberdonian, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “I was down on the ground. I didn’t know what was happening around me and you can’t change that now.

“He gave the yellow and I don’t think it impacted on the game too much in the end.

“I had plenty of time to see that coming and it is what it is.”

Boss Ange Postecoglou took no chances with Hatate being involved in another flashpoint incident in the second-half as he replaced him with Tom Rogic at the interval.

UP AND OVER…Reo Hatate evades a sliding tackle from United defender Callum Butcher.

At least, the more informed among the viewers of the incidents saw Hatate’s challenge’s challenge for what it was – a player doing his best to win back the ball at a crucial stage of the game with his side leading 1-0.

There was no malice in the tackle and Freeman was running freely only moments afterwards.

Common sense prevailed – a rarity in this day and age.

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