BRENDAN RODGERS branded Dedryck Boyata’s ordering-off in the 1-0 Bertfred League Cup win over St Johnstone last night as “stupid”.

The Celtic manager could now be left with a central defensive headache for the semi-final against Hearts next month.

Rodgers was clearly unhappy when the Belgian World Cup defender was shown a straight red card by referee John Beaton for dissent in the fading moments of a dramatic encounter in Perth.

He admitted: “I just watched it back afterwards and it is a stupid red card. I think he has enough opportunities not to get sent off.

“It was an emotional game near the end, Dedryck feels as if he should had a free-kick and didn’t get it.

“In fairness to John, he gives him a chance not to get the red card, it was not what we would want.

“Obviously, Dedryck will miss whatever it is, the semi-final or whatever, but we have accept it and move on.”

BEFORE SEEING RED…Dedryck Boyata in control against Saints. Pic: Geo.

That led to the confrontation and the referee taking the decision to change his mind from a yellow card for a straight red. It must be stated that such punishment for a bout of verbals between a match official and a player is most unusual.

Boyata will miss the last-four game against Craig Levein’s Tynecastle outfit – Aberdeen and Sevco Rangers meeting in the other tie – and Rodgers could be left scrabbling to put together a rearguard.

Kristoffer Ajer limped off in the first-half against the Saints with what looked like a hamstring strain, on-loan Filip Benkovic has an Achilles problem, Jozo Simunovic is far short of match fitness while Marvin Compper simply appears to be a no-go.

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