Ban for Celtic's Ryan Christie after violent conduct by grabbing groin of Rangers' Alfredo Morelos

Rangers' Alfredo Morelos, left, and Celtic's Ryan Christie tussle during the game on 29 January.
Rangers' Alfredo Morelos, left, and Celtic's Ryan Christie tussle during the game on 29 January.
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Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie has been handed a two-match ban following a foul on Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos when he seemed to grab the Colombian’s groin.

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie has been handed a two-match ban following a foul on Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos when he seemed to grab the Colombian’s groin.
Christie escaped with only a free-kick against him after the incident during Rangers’ 2-1 win at Celtic Park on 29 December. But he was subsequently charged with violent conduct by the Scottish Football Association and a fast-track tribunal found him guilty yesterday.
The 24-year-old had already been booked by referee Kevin Clancy for a foul on Morelos when he appeared to grab the striker after he had been nutmegged by the Colombian.
After the hearing, Celtic issued a statement criticising the disciplinary process. It read: “Celtic Football Club and Ryan Christie are extremely disappointed at the outcome of the hearing.
“Given the recent treatment of Celtic players and the lack of sanctions being imposed on those responsible, the fact that a sanction has been imposed on Ryan for the incident in question demonstrates a worrying lack of consistency in the Scottish FA fast track process.
“Naturally, we will be contacting the Scottish FA regarding our concerns. Scottish football deserves a disciplinary process which is fair, consistent and fit for purpose.”
Celtic had vowed to defend their player “vigorously” and stated they were “astonished” by the SFA charge when it was announced on 31 December.
The champions called for a meeting with the SFA a year ago after Morelos escaped retrospective action for several incidents during the corresponding fixture, including flicking his hand into Christie’s groin area.
Morelos could still be hit with retrospective action over the cut-throat gesture he made to Celtic fans after he was sent off in the closing seconds of the game. Rangers claimed Morelos had been the subject of racial abuse and said his gesture was “used commonly throughout South America to indicate quite simply that something – in this case, the match – is finished”.
Christie will miss Celtic’s William Hill Scottish Cup clash with Partick Thistle on 18 January, along with their Ladbrokes Premiership match at Kilmarnock four days later.
The case triggered an extra one-match ban because it is his second red-card offence of the season – he was sent off against Livingston – so he will also be out for the visit of Ross County on 25 January.
The Scotland cap is recovering from groin surgery and was rated “touch and go” by assistant manager John Kennedy for the Maryhill tie.
Kennedy also refuted the idea that Rangers have got Celtic’s number after that deserved 2-1 triumph at Parkhead.
Rangers had also been the better side in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden earlier in December but Celtic retained the trophy with a 1-0 win.
However, Rangers’ first victory in the east end of Glasgow in over nine years took Steven Gerrard’s side to within two points of the Hoops at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership with a game in hand.
Speaking from the club’s winter training camp in Dubai, Kennedy, pictured, told Sky Sports that Parkhead deficiencies on the day were key.
“They were on it, in terms of the game, they played very well,” he said of Rangers. “We didn’t at all so it always looks like that. Rangers were well organised, defended well, they were rigid. Yes, there were things we could look at and improve upon, not just against Rangers.”
Kennedy admitted that Celtic are working on signing options but although he conceded that out-of-favour centre-back Jack Hendry is one who will go, he did not confirm speculation that it will be to Hearts.
Kennedy added: “I don’t know about the Hearts thing, I’ve not been kept up to date on that. But Jack has found himself out of the squad and on the periphery so he is certainly one who will be looking to go and get some game time
“We have been looking at options and there is a couple of positions that we would like to try to add a face to, to give us more competition and improve the quality of the squad. We have quite an inflated squad so there will be a few who will probably go the other way.”