DAVIE HAY

Evening Times - - CELTIC COLUMN -

club’s play­ers was sent off and then banned for two games af­ter a failed ap­peal.

But I re­ally don’t think he has any grounds to com­plain.

In my time, the chal­lenge Cos­grove made on Ajer in the Lad­brokes Premier­ship at Celtic Park last week­end was maybe, at best, a book­ing.

In this day and age? If you don’t make com­pletely clean con­tact with the ball there is only ever go­ing to be one out­come – a straight red card.

Un­der the old rules, if there was no in­tent to harm the op­po­si­tion player then you es­caped pun­ish­ment. Now, if you use ex­ces­sive force you are guilty or se­ri­ous foul play.

So I don’t think Cor­mack, or Aberdeen man­ager Derek McInnes, can de­fend Cos­grove or be­moan the SFA re­ject­ing their ap­peal against the de­ci­sion.

It was hardly a do-or-die sit­u­a­tion the player went in on Ajer. The Aberdeen goal wasn’t un­der threat. The ball was over at the cor­ner flag.

So why did he feel the need to throw him­self into the chal­lenge at such speed? It was reck­less.

Cor­mack claimed that the Nor­we­gian had been at it and McInnes suggested he had winked and smiled at his for­ward af­ter­wards. But con­tact was def­i­nitely made.

Now, Ajer might not nec­es­sar­ily have been badly hurt. He lifted his leg and rode the chal­lenge. But that has been happening in the game for time im­memo­rial.

By the let­ter of the law, Cos­grove had to go.

Len­non has been quite low key when talk­ing about the in­ci­dent. Th­ese things are bet­ter con­ducted pri­vately than in public.

But for Cor­mack and McInnes the wound has clearly been fes­ter­ing

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I don’t think the US-based soft­ware en­tre­pre­neur, who has just taken over from Stewart Milne at the head of north-east club, could feel hard done by if he was now sanc­tioned.

The rum­pus over Cos­grove’s red card has over­shad­owed the build-up to Celtic’s game against Rangers at Park­head on Sun­day.

But I think, with Od­sonne Edouard back and Len­non’s side on a good winning run, they can go into it with high hopes.

Yes, Rangers were the bet­ter team in the Bet­fred Cup fi­nal and would have won had it not been for Celtic keeper Fraser Forster.

But you saw the dif­fer­ence that Edouard made when he

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Hav­ing the French for­ward avail­able again is a huge bonus for Len­non and his play­ers and they will fancy their chances of pick­ing up three points and forg­ing eight points clear.

But I think the area which will be vi­tal is in mid­field.

At Ibrox last De­cem­ber Steven Ger­rard’s side had the edge in that cru­cial de­part­ment and won the game. If they dom­i­nate there again to­mor­row they have a chance.

Ger­rard has a big de­ci­sion to make about whether to play Steven Davis – who is a very ex­pe­ri­enced and clever player – against Celtic af­ter the North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­al­ist re­turned from in­jury.

They didn’t miss Davis in

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TO­MOR­ROW Football Lad­brokes the cup fi­nal. But he keeps con­trol of the ball so well. I am sure he will come into his man­ager’s think­ing.

It de­pends how fit he is af­ter three weeks out and only a few train­ing ses­sions. But I could see Glen Ka­mara be­ing dropped and Davis com­ing in.

I would be sur­prised if Len­non didn’t pick Scott Brown, Cal­lum McGre­gor and Olivier Ntcham in there and play Ryan Christie and James For­rest wide.

The Celtic team pretty much picks it­self.

It is an in­trigu­ing con­test. But if the tre­ble tre­ble win­ners per­form as they can, not like they did in the cup fi­nal, then I think they should just edge it.

Celtic have won at Ibrox and Ham­p­den this sea­son and are al­ways favourites when they play at Park­head with the vast ma­jor­ity of the 60,000-strong crowd be­hind them.

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Aberdeen chair­man Dave Cor­mack’s Twit­ter com­ments were out of or­der – and should be pun­ished

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