UEFA have issued another fine to Celtic – this time for around £10,000 – following the recent Europa League match against Inter Milan in the San Siro. The fine relates to matters both on the park and in the stands.
The club has been ordered to pay 8,000 euros (£5,861) after collecting five or more cautions during the 1-0 defeat to the Italians at San Siro. This can be put down to a one off, caused by an extremely poor refereeing performance.
More worryingly Celtic have to pay a further 5,000-euro (£3,663) due to a supporter setting off a flare whilst well aware that this would land the club in further bother.
Inter have also been fined 5,000 euros (£3,663) after UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body also found them guilty of breaching rules on flares.
Just before the match in the San Siro which Inter won 1-0, Celtic had been fined 10,000 euros (£7,326) for a similar fireworks offence back in December in a group match against Dynamo Zagreb in Croatia.
The club had appealed for fans to ditch the flares at the San Siro but a pyrotechnic was set off in the away support and gleefully reported by the traveling Scottish media, with Celtic’s manager even being asked about the flare being set off in his post match press conference. As if he’d be focused on the stands rather than the action on the pitch!
This is now the seventh time in little over three years that Celtic have faced UEFA punishment because of petty incidents among the support. In these circumstances the level of this punishment can be viewed as being probably the best Celtic could have hoped for.
The on the field charges for “improper conduct” due to Celtic collecting five yellow cards and a red need to be considered in the context of a shocking refereeing performance. Virgil van Dijk was sent off following two bookable offences in the first half, while Craig Gordon, Adam Matthews, Emilio Izaguirre, Nir Bitton and Kris Commons were also booked. Commons for telling the referee what he thought of him at the final whistle and Gordon for wasting time while rushing to take a goal kick.
No wonder that Ronny Deila criticised referee Ivan Kruzliak after the game for his performance and in particular for his decision to send off Van Dijk.
Celtic skipper Scott Brown was also critical of the referee, saying shortly after the final whistle that “football is a man’s game. There’s always going to be tackles that are a wee bit late due to the pace of the game. These things happen but every single tackle shouldn’t be a yellow card.”
Celtic are far from being a dirty side. The harsh sending off of Van Dijk effectively ended Celtic chance of winning in the San Siro. Up to that point Celtic had been the better side and in Gary Mackay-Steven, Inter had no answer. The winger was withdrawn in favor of a replacement defender at the sending off. Inter lost both their round of 16 matches.