DEREK McINNES has insisted it was all a misunderstanding when defender Shay Logan was sent off after the final whistle when Aberdeen beat Celtic 1-0 at Parkhead in May.
TV pictures showed the Dons right-back getting involved with Mikael Lustig and Dedryck Boyata as they saluted the Hoops fans following the club’s seventh successive title triumph, despite suffering the first home domestic defeat of Brendan Rodgers’ two-year reign.
Logan was red-carded and banned for three matches following his team’s first win in the east end of Glasgow in FOURTEEN years.
Pittodrie boss McInnes said: “It was all really unfortunate how it played out that day as Shay was actually trying to acknowledge the Celtic fans and was clapping them at the end.
“I’m not saying that he was holding an olive branch because Shay is his own guy, but I thought the actions of one or two Celtic players made that whole situation worse.
“The whole thing was just too easy to lambast him and punish him. It became a situation out of nothing really quickly and it was really unfair on Shay.
“Shay wears his heart on his sleeve, shows a lot of emotion and he’s one of very few players like that in the modern game now.
“He’s the type our supporters can relate to and love and he might be the type to irritate other supporters. On that day, he was doing everything he could not to, but that all blew up in his face and I felt for him.
“If you look at the footage, forensically look at it, there’s no red card offence there, but, hopefully, it can be a similar result this time and we go about our business quietly.
“There was a lot on that game for us to finish second when there was a lot of doubters; we had to pull out performances after the split. It was an outpouring of relief from everybody that day and there was no over-celebrating or offence meant from Shay at all.”
Logan was also caught on camera during the Hoops’ 2-0 away win in February when he booted the ball at grounded Scott Brown who had just been flatttened by a wild lunge from Dons substitute Sam Cosgrove who earned a straight red card.
And trios to Parkhead haven’t been without incident for the right-back. Four years ago, Aleksander Tonev, on a season-long loan from Aston Villa, was given a seven-match ban after being accused of racially abusing him.
The player can expect a hot reception from the fans this afternoon, but McInnes is unperturbed and added: “I’m not worried about Shay because he’s not worried about it.”
* DON’T miss all the action in the unbeatable match report from the Celtic v Aberdeen game this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.