Neil Lennon yesterday explained that Celtic have launched an appeal against the red card shown to defender Virgil van Dijk in the 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen because of the belief they “have a shout” of seeing it overturned.
The immediate result of this appeal is that the player is available for the champions’ league fixture against Inverness Caledonian Thistle this afternoon. But Lennon stressed that the motivation is that he remains convinced that the red card is “worthy of an appeal”. The manager denied they were wasting anybody’s time. Eyebrows were raised after the game when Lennon stressed that he thought referee Craig Thomson had erred in giving Van Dijk a red card 11 minutes into Tuesday night’s clash, which saw Celtic surrender their unbeaten league record. The defender pulled down Peter Pawlett on the edge of the box as the Aberdeen player bore down on goal. But Lennon argued that Van Dijk’s centre-half partner Efe Ambrose was near enough to be expected to have a chance to deal with the danger. He also complained that Pawlett, in his opinion, was veering away from goal.
“We have appealed Virgil’s red because we think it is worthwhile doing,” Lennon said yesterday. “We think we might have a shout. So he will be in contention [for today’s game].
“The angle Pawlett was taking the ball to, I think Efe would have got over there,” he added. “It is not like we are wasting anybody’s time on it, we feel we have a decent case.”
Should Celtic fail with their appeal, Van Dijk will be banned for the Friday night match against Kilmarnock on 14 March.