Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers hit with ban for officials comments at Hearts - but is free to face Rangers

Rodgers will sit in the stands for this Sunday’s match against Livingston

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will be free to take his place in the away dugout for next month’s Old Firm clash with Rangers at Ibrox after being handed a solitary one-match ban for comments made about officials during a 2-0 defeat by Hearts.

Rodgers questioned the competency of referee Don Robertson and his VAR John Beaton for decisions made during the defeat at Tynecastle on March 3. Beaton advised Robertson to review a challenge by Celtic winger Yang Hjun-jun that led to the South Korean’s yellow card being upgraded to red, while later in the match, Hearts were awarded a penalty when VAR flagged up a handball by Tomoki Iwata. Rodgers’ post-match outburst left him in breach of Disciplinary Rule 72, which stipulates that managers cannot “indicate bias or incompetence” regarding officials during interviews, with a two-match ban potentially on the cards. However, after a hearing at Hampden on Thursday, Rodgers will only miss one game.

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That suspension will come into effect this weekend, meaning the Celtic manager will have to sit in the stands for the trip to the Tony Macaroni Arena on Easter Sunday against Livingston. There will be relief, though, that Rodgers will be able to conduct his usual coaching duties the following weekend when the defending Premiership champions take on arch-rivals Rangers on Sunday, April 7 – a match that is likely to have major consequences on this season’s title race.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has been hit with a one-match suspension.Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has been hit with a one-match suspension.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has been hit with a one-match suspension.

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the loss to Hearts, Rodgers said: “I try to respect decisions and give the benefit of the doubt. But I think when I see that level of incompetence, which is the only word I can use, then that makes me worry for the game. In such a tight title race that can make the difference. I also think that VAR is not the problem here. That's clear. It's competence. The first one is the sending off when there is no force. Show a still image of that and of course and you will see a foot up with the head near it, but it's not the reality of the move. Don got it actually right on the field. It was a high boot, so it's a yellow card – no malice or force. For John Beaton to actually look at that in VAR, supposedly under no pressure, and say that was sending off? I find that incredible.”



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