Scott Brown has branded the two-match ban his Celtic team mate Ryan Christie received for grabbing Alfredo Morelos’s groin during the Rangers game last month as “laughable”.
The Parkhead captain also accused the Scottish FA of being swayed by public opinion and criticised the lack of consistency in its disciplinary system.
Christie was issued with a fast track notice of complaint by compliance officer Clare Whyte last week and received a two-match suspension following a hearing at Hampden on Monday afternoon.
The 24-year-old, who is out injured after undergoing groin surgery immediately after Celtic’s 2-1 defeat by Rangers, is suspended for three games due to being ordered off against Livingston in October.
Brown, speaking from the champions’ winter training camp in Dubai, said he had been taken aback when he learned about the punishment.
“I’m astonished,” he said. “Every time you run past you try to hold your man, get your arms in, stuff like that. In that situation there is going to be a lot of those decisions. It’s laughable to be perfectly honest.
“He [Christie] is upset about it. It’s hard, especially with the game it was in. People are going to check back all the time. Morelos managed to take him on and cut inside and we’ve all seen that sort of incident. He just tried to put his hand in to try to stop him. It is what it is.”
Celtic issued a statement on Monday night which highlighted the lack of action which had been taken against players who they believe have committed fouls in games against Neil Lennon’s side this season.
Brown endorsed the Glasgow club’s stance and praised the Parkhead hierarchy for fighting their corner with the SFA.
“Enough people phone up these days and they end up looking at the cases and going with what everyone’s saying,” he said. “The vast majority all see one incident at a time and somebody gets pulled up in front of the SFA.
“There is always going to be people watching the games back and trying to phone in and say their point. That’s the problem. It’s the consistency that everyone wants on serious red cards and serious fouls that some referees and linesmen miss, that’s the ones you want up. I think that’s the biggest thing.
“The club do what’s best for the players all the time, they stick up for us. They always do that and we give everything we can on the park and they give everything they can as well.”