Saturday 16 December 2017

Deila joy as Van Dijk cleared to play in Cup final clash with Tangerines


Celtic boss Ronny Deila welcomed Virgil van Dijk's successful red card appeal which leaves him free to play in the Scottish League Cup final against Dundee United at Hampden Park on Sunday.

The Dutch defender was sent off by referee Craig Thomson in last weekend's 1-1 William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final clash with the Terrors at Tannadice after tangling with Calum Butcher, with United midfielder Paul Paton also being dismissed in a case of mistaken identity.

Just before Deila and his United counterpart Jackie McNamara had their respective pre-match press conferences at the national stadium on Thursday, it was confirmed that Van Dijk's red card has been rescinded, soon followed by news that Paton's card had been overturned too, as expected.

And United striker Nadir Ciftci was also cleared after being offered a two-match ban for allegedly kicking Celtic skipper Scott Brown in the head at Tannadice. The panel found the case "not proven".

It was the second week running that Ciftci faced a judicial panel, having successfully challenged a two-match ban following a clash with Inverness defender Gary Warren. The forward will still miss the final after picking up his second booking of the competition in the semi-final win over Aberdeen, but will be free to play in the Parkhead Scottish Cup replay and the Scottish Premiership clash between the two sides the following weekend.

Deila (right) said: "I am very happy for Virgil and the team. Of course I think it was the right decision. He has been unlucky twice with red cards, the one in Europe (against Inter Milan) was not a right one and this one also wasn't right. So it is very good that he didn't get any suspension and can play in the final."

Celtic had issued a statement earlier in the week asking why Butcher had not been punished by the Scottish Football Association.

The statement read: "It seems completely illogical and fundamentally unfair that, in an incident where mistaken identity has been claimed, the Dundee United player now identified clearly as being involved in the incident appears to have no case to answer - and would be available to play in the League Cup final and the Scottish Cup replay between the two teams - while Celtic's player may potentially miss both of those matches."

McNamara claimed he had "no faith in the system anyway," referring back to another incident involving Ciftci in November 2013, during a League Cup tie at Inverness.

The United striker was sent off after a mass brawl before the visitors lost 2-1 and it clearly still irked the former Celtic player.

"We felt we get unfairly treated at Inverness and we've deal with it," he said.

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