Everyone seems to have attributed Shay Logan’s red card to his pushing Mikael Lustig in the face. However, I’m not 100 per cent sure that is definitely the case.
Match official Craig Thomson seemed to see the incident and didn’t really act on it. Yes, it doesn’t necessarily matter that the referee refrained from pulling his cards out right away. He could have been distracted by something else or was thinking it over. But most of the time in such circumstances a referee will get in between the players and dish out a red to whoever was responsible.
You can be sent off for “using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures”, so perhaps one of the officials saw something which they felt fell into that category as Logan remonstrated with Celtic players and goaded their fans.
It’s possible that Thomson wasn’t initially going to send him off for the push in the face, but when he saw that Logan was continuing to act out he decided he had to take action as things became more heated.
I think the push is just about a red card — striking an opponent on the head or face with an arm is always violent conduct unless the contact is “negligible”, which it wasn’t.
I would also point out that Dedryck Boyata and Leigh Griffiths should have been at least yellow carded for throwing the ball at Logan as he walked from the park.
The laws of the game are very clear that throwing the ball at an opponent should always result in a card. If the referee deems it “reckless” then it should be a yellow, while it would be a red if he used “excessive force”.
You could argue that Boyata’s falls into the latter category. He was at fairly close range and threw it straight at his chest. The Griffiths one was a yellow even though he missed him.
Lustig could have also been carded for going head-to-head with Logan as the Aberdeen right-back clapped the Celtic fans. However, he didn’t do anything violent so he escaping any punishment was reasonable in his case. Had it happened during play you’d have suspected a yellow would have came his way, though.
• Craig Anderson is a former fully qualified referee. He is also the man behind SPL Stats on Twitter.